It's been nearly a year since Governor Paterson very publicly flubbed the selection process to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate after she was tapped to become Obama's secretary of State. Back then, in January, Paterson strung Caroline Kennedy along for weeks, eventually turning on her when she decided she didn't want the seat after all. At the time, he was accused of spitefully leaking personal, defamatory information about Kennedy, involving nanny and tax problems. And according to the Post, he wasn't really off the hook for the mess until just this week, when the state's Commission on Public Integrity "unanimously determined to close this matter with no further action." They're not going to be looking into the information leaks. But looking back at Paterson's pattern of approval ratings, it was really the Kennedy episode that caused voters to lose their faith in (and affection for) Paterson for good. There are plenty of reasons people don't like him now, of course, but his behavior back then was the straw that broke the camel's back. The event that plummeted him to record unpopularity, from which he never recovered, is something for which he'll never quite be "off the hook."
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