The most incredible thing to me about the latest, and possibly last straw article in the NY Times about Governor Paterson is the timing of the events described therein. According to the story, the governor's press secretary, on his orders, called the woman (still being identified only as such in the Times; no longer in the Daily News) on the very evening that the Times was preparing to publish its first article in the series - the widely-panned piece on Paterson's close aide, and accused domestic abuser - David Johnson. It was on February 9 that Paterson was interviewed by the Times' Danny Hakim, and subsequently bragged that there was no blockbuster story that would cause him to step down, as was widely rumored the time.
It was another week, on Feb 16, that the first article was published, and it contains the following passages regarding the two incidents involving Johnson and a girlfriend, one in 2001, and the one last October:
Asked last week about the episode, Mr. Paterson said he was not aware of it. But the governor recalled a separate episode involving Mr. Johnson and a woman, which he said also occurred in 2001, where the police were called.So, according to this timeline, Paterson had already been questioned by the Times on the October assault in question.....but then still allegedly initiated the calls to the woman nearly a week later, despite the fact that he knew that the Times was aware of the incident and snooping around. It's hard to believe that he could be that complacent about the paper's intentions. Paterson himself actually created the blockbuster that the Times didn't have. He stepped right into his own poop. That kind of poor judgment goes far beyond the mere political naivete we all agree he is guily of, and into the realm of shocking stupidity. Almost like a death wish.
The governor said he was aware that Mr. Johnson might have had another problematic encounter with a girlfriend last October in the Bronx. He described it, essentially, as a bad breakup.
I had predicted, should it come to pass that Paterson's initial contention that the woman had initiated the contact to him was a lie, that he would be gone within 48 hours. So the clock is ticking on that. But so far, the calls for his resignation have been scattered at best; he even picked up some support from Sheldon Silver....as well as from a group of Latino lawmakers, including Senators Ruben Diaz Sr and Pedro Espada. That should come as no surprise, considering that those two voted against the expulsion of Hiram Monserrate, an actual convicted domestic abuser, rather than "mererly" an alleged coverer-up.
And of course, Paterson, who affirmed late on Tuesday that he will not resign, deserves the opportunity to tell his own story; the accusations are merely ones made in a newspaper. Nothing he will say could excuse his lack of judgment, and it's certainly a fair argument in my mind that it was lacking enough so that he should go. Still, I'm thinking that he's gonna hang on here, at least for awhile.