A puzzling announcement from N.Y. Gov. Paterson

Governor offers novel explanation for why he's decided to drop out of race

Published February 26, 2010 9:34PM (EST)

New York Gov. David Paterson announced at a Friday press conference that he has decided to drop out of his race for a first full term. And he did so because of a New York Times article alleging that he and members of his administration pushed a woman to drop assault charges against a top aide. But that's not the reason Paterson gave when he spoke to reporters, and the steadfast way he stuck to his story gave his press conference something of a bizarre cast.

After emphasizing work he's done on behalf of New Yorkers, Paterson said, "It has become increasingly clear to me in the last few days that I cannot run for office and try to run the state’s business at the same time."

Well, maybe. But in the context of his real reason for leaving, Paterson's explanation just sounded strange. Disgraced politicians are prone to trying this sort of spin, but it didn't even come close to believable this time around.

The governor, who promised that he will remain in office for the duration of his term, didn't completely ignore the scandal that forced his campaign -- a failure to acknowledge it would have just been too obvious. He denied that he's ever abused his power, and said he's looking forward to a "full investigation" of his actions and the actions of those in his administration.

"I believe when the facts are reviewed, the truth will prevail," Paterson said.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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