Two former governors are weighing in on Eliot Spitzer's run for New York City Comptroller. David Paterson took to the radio to express his discontent with the media's treatment of Spitzer. Meanwhile, George Pataki struck a much more subdued tone in his analysis of Spitzer's candidacy. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman reports.
NEW YORK STATE -- "They have this rule that they setup this week that if you endorse Scott Stringer you have to explain what's wrong with Eliot Spitzer," said former Governor David Paterson.
Being governor of a diverse state like New York is not an easy job. And perhaps that's why former Governor David Paterson isn't keen on trashing his old boss Eliot Spitzer, when endorsing his rival Scott Stringer in the race for New York City comptroller.
Paterson endorsed Stringer earlier in the year before Spitzer's surprise entry into the race. Spitzer's resignation in the midst of a prostitution scandal elevated Paterson, the lieutenant governor, to become the first black governor of New York. However, Paterson's tenure in Albany was rocky at best as he managed an ongoing fiscal crisis and a difficult Legislature.
In a radio interview, Paterson blasted the New York City media for giving his old boss a tough time.
"The New York Times, the New York Post and The Daily News have decided not only are they going to endorse Scott Stringer but they are totally humiliate and just destroy the image of Eliot Spitzer," said Paterson.
Spitzer left office in March 2008 with few fans. However, while Republican former Governor George Pataki isn't a Spitzer fan either, he gave a short and somewhat polite answer when asked about Spitzer's candidacy.
"I don't have a vote in the Democratic primary for comptroller. But if I did it would not be for Eliot Spitzer," said Pataki.
As for Spitzer himself, the former governor doesn't begrudge Paterson backing Stringer.
"David is a friend and David has been a friend for many, many years. We've served in government together. I've known him and respected him when he was lieutenant governor when I was governor what he tried to do when he was governor," noted Spitzer.
The power of endorsements is also questionable. But Paterson's backing gives Stringer a high-profile black supporter as he struggles to gain votes with African-American and Latino voters.
"Endorsements are endorsements and I think the public understands what they are. To state what is almost a cliche but it's true, the only endorsement I want is on September 10," added Spitzer.
As for the current governor, well, it remains to be seen if he'll endorse in the city comptroller's race by next month's primary.