On Letterman he will continue to make his pitch for government control of health management and care but so far, of most interest is not his appearance on Letterman or his appearance at the U.N.. The most interesting part of the President’s New York field trip hasn’t even been what he said as he delivered a speech on the economy which discussed making investments in education and research. What is most noteworthy on this trip are the telling signs of a President trying to make sure that the wheels don’t fall off his bandwagon as the 2010 midterm elections approach.
After reports that the President wants New York Governor David Paterson to drop efforts to keep his job surfaced on Sunday, signs of that desire revealed itself even more on Monday.
Before delivering his speech in Troy, New York, President Obama began by acknowledging the presence of dignitaries in the audience. He stated, Governor David Paterson is in the house and went on to simply say “he’s a wonderful man”. That statement was quickly followed by the mention of State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s presence. But unlike with Paterson who President Obama called a wonderful man, in referencing Cuomo, the President went into a glowing description of Cuomo which included statements such as “ he is doing great work for the people of New York”.
With Paterson mired in plummeting poll numbers, Andrew Cuomo is seen by the White House as a much better name to head up the Democrat ticket in New York next year. Reports claimed that the President so much as sent that message to Governor Paterson, who when asked if that was true, responded that he has spoken to the White House but will not reveal the details of any private conversations. Paterson did add that he was running for Governor regardless of any speculation.
The fact that the White House would step into a developing intra-party battle for a nomination is not a normal occurrence. Even more unusual here is the fact that David Paterson is one of only two African-American governors in the country. The sensitivities of that fact would normally prompt praise and encouragement, especially for a man who took the reigns of control after a scandal that rocked New York.
The uniqueness of the White House’s attempt to push Paterson out can only be due to fears that the upcoming 2010 midterm elections are going to be devastating to the administration and the Democrat Party nationwide. Not only is there the risk of losing seats in the House of Representatives but there exists a great risk of losing several seats in the U.S. Senate. Most prominent of all being the election to fill out Secretary of State Clinton’s New York Senate seat.
That seat is currently being kept warm by the Kristen Gillibrand, the hand picked choice of Governor Paterson. Her maintaining the seat could be in jeopardy if a Cuomo vs. Paterson primary for governor took place. Such a race could prompt a primary for the Democrat nomination against Gillibrand and her being seen as Paterson’s candidate will not help her win.
Another factor that would come into play if Paterson were to primary Cuomo is race. Many African-Americans could split their support and if Paterson were to lose, there is the risk that many African-American voters would hold Cuomo responsible for that loss and stay at home during the general election. That would severely suppress the vote totals for Democrats in all races for Senate and Congress, thereby allowing viable Republican candidates the chance to pull together higher vote totals than their Democrat opponents.
All of this obviously deeply concerns President Obama. So much so that he is throwing Governor David Paterson under the bus and taking unprecedented steps to stop the hemorrhaging that they expect in 2010.
With no comment from the President on what he did or didn’t tell Governor Paterson, the President’s effusive praise of Cuomo and tepid acknowledgment of David Paterson said much more than his words.
If that was not enough of a sign that the President wants to push Paterson out of office, after his speech on the economy the President held a private reception. Invited to it was Andrew Cuomo. Conveniently not invited was Governor Paterson.