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How Will Paterson Pick Up N.Y. Governor's Office?


In Albany, New York today, a packed room waited to hear the man who rose to power after Democratic governor Eliot Spitzer's dramatic fall. Lieutenant Governor David Paterson, who becomes governor of New York on Monday addressed a news conference at the state capitol.

NPR's Margot Adler reports.

MARGOT ADLER: David Paterson, showed in seconds how different he is from his predecessor. Noting the room packed with Albany insiders, he said.

Mr. DAVID PATERSON (Lieutenant Governor, New York): If most of you weren't being paid, I'd be flattered by that.

(Soundbite of people laughing)

ADLER: He spoke of his deep friendship with Eliot Spitzer and his closeness to Spitzer's parents.

Mr. PATERSON: We used to call them our other family. I did not get to this position in the way that most people have and in the way that most people would want.

ADLER: Paterson said the law had to take its course but that he personally felt Spitzer had been punished enough, but his main purpose was to reassure New Yorkers that he would hold the reins of government securely.

Mr. PATERSON: There may be a five-day transition period but we are hard at work at this moment putting together a budget that will help New York to thrive.

ADLER: His meeting this weekend with Republicans and Democrats, with the controller and the state attorney general, and working on a budget that must be passed by the end of the month. Paterson has a record as a liberal but he acknowledged how hard it would be given the state's $4.7 billion budget deficit to do certain things. Then he was asked about being the first black governor of New York and the first legally blind governor.

PATERSON: Seventy-one percent of the blind are unemployed, 90 percent of deaf people in this country are unemployed - maybe one of them could figure out a cure for cancer. So to whatever extent my presence impresses upon employers or impresses upon younger people who are like me in either way then I would feel very privileged, very proud and very flattered to be in this position.

ADLER: Paterson's task is huge but his style will help bridge differences.

Margot Adler, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Margot Adler died on July 28, 2014 at her home in New York City. She was 68 and had been battling cancer. Listen to NPR Correspondent David Folkenflik's retrospective on her life and career

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