Day two of Governor Paterson’s campaign for a second term was notable for its unavoidably high level of awkwardness. After opening the campaign at Hofstra on Saturday, Paterson flew down to Washington on Sunday to attend a Governors Ball hosted by President Obama the man who very publicly provided Paterson’s prospective candidacy with a big fat vote of no confidence a few months ago. Paterson claimed he didn’t feel any “discomfort” at the ball, however, and even offered some sympathetic words for Obama, telling the Times that “the president needs to know we’re all behind him.” Meanwhile, Paterson bonded with other struggling governors.
“How are you holding up?” the governor of California asked the governor of New York in a basement hotel ballroom here, sounding like a friend offering condolences to someone who had just suffered a loss.
“Me?” Mr. Paterson said with a self-assured pitch in his voice. “I’m the Teflon governor.”
The “Teflon governor”? That’s rich. In some ways, Paterson is the opposite of a Teflon politician — even things that aren’t his fault, like the State Senate’s dysfunction and New York’s financial crisis, seem to stick to him (the glue governor?). The one thing that certainly hasn’t stuck, though, is loyalty among high-profile Democrats, which brings us to the second awkward aspect of Sunday’s proceedings. Before Paterson jetted off to the ball, he was at a campaign kickoff event in Buffalo. On the bright side, 200 people showed up at a site arranged for 50. But there were, notably, no elected Democratic officials among the attendees. No members of Congress showed up. Neither did the mayor. Paterson campaign manager Richard Fife says they’ll show up soon enough. But the only one he could name was David Dinkins, who, tellingly, is 82, not in public office, and unconcerned about getting on the wrong side of Andrew Cuomo.