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Pataki, George

Ambition unrewarded.

9/11 made careers and reputations. And no one seemed to work harder to catch this wave than George Pataki. Moist-eyed and superpatriotic, Pataki made himself the point person for redevelopment of the World Trade Center site and the building of the ­memorial—efforts that seemed designed to abet a presidential campaign (however unlikely) in 2008. After the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation gave the Drawing Center, the Soho museum, a space at the new ground zero, he thundered that he wouldn’t “tolerate anything on that site that denigrates America.” The former governor was still defending America last year, criticizing support of the so-called ground-zero mosque as “dead wrong.” But by that point, most of his plans for the Trade Center site, bloated financially and years behind schedule, had been discarded; its signature building had to be renamed (see “One World Trade Center”) in order to find tenants; and conservative columnist John ­Podhoretz even blamed Pataki for the turmoil over the mosque, ­because the property wouldn’t even have been available if the site had been developed more quickly. All the same, Pataki made a trip to Iowa this past spring to test his chances for a presidential run.


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