WXXI Local Stories
Wed August 26, 2009
Governor Regrets Remarks on Race
By Karen DeWitt
Albany, New York – Governor David Paterson is apologizing for remarks he made last week implying that the media had a racial bias against him.
The state's first African American Governor says he's sorry that his remarks were taken as a sweeping condemnation of media coverage as racially biased against him.
"I regret the remarks because I think they could have been better thought out," said Paterson, who said he "apologized" for the comments.
The governor now says he was actually angry about an incorrect report that said he had taken his underaged daughter to a night club. Paterson says his daughter is 21, and that they left the party well before midnight.
"The way I presented it, I made it sound as if was with a broad brush, as if I think it happens all the time," said Paterson. "By no means does it happen all the time."
The governor says he doesn't think the controversy will hurt his chances at running for election for governor next year, saying he thinks people will respect him for acknowledging that he made a mistake.
Paterson also says he'll call the legislature back into session in late September, to try to close a $2 billion dollar budget gap and act on other unfinished issues.
The governor says he won't propose a specific budget balancing plan like he has in the past, saying that when he proposes cuts publicly, it gives opponents time to "advertise" against them.
The governor says he won't negotiate in secret, but he wants to hammer out a preliminary agreement with legislative leaders shortly after Labor Day.
Paterson also wants the State Senate to take up unfinished business left undone during the month long power stalemate earlier this summer. Those issues include legalizing gay marriage and raising the state's unemployment insurance benefits.