STATEMENT FROM PETER E. KAUFFMANN, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
"After weeks of expectations, and a circus-like atmosphere fed by the worst of Planet Albany, the New York Times article finally published today offers no explosive revelations about Governor Paterson. Despite a nasty and seemingly coordinated effort to attack the Governor based on nothing but rumor and innuendo, what we are left with is a profile of a sitting governor tackling historic challenges in a time of crisis for our State. It should not be news to anyone who has followed Governor Paterson's fight to reform Albany and bring fiscal discipline to State government that the special interests and chattering classes are opposed to his efforts. These attacks will not stop Governor Paterson from standing up to the special interests and fighting for the people of New York."
Key Points on New York Times story:
• When presented with a line of reporting calling into question his work ethic and dedication to his job, Governor Paterson invited the New York Times to have a reporter shadow him for 10 days to see first-hand the work he does on a daily basis. The Times refused the Governor's challenge.
• To suggest that the Governor was unreachable on the night of the Buffalo plane crash is false and misleading. In fact, Governor Paterson was asleep and was not awoken until 1:30 a.m., and at that time he learned of the crash. Contrary to the article, the Governor never claimed any significant delay was due to staff calling the wrong telephone. As soon as he was alerted to the crash, he directed the State Police to prepare a State plane for travel to Buffalo. He was advised that any incoming flights wait until daybreak, and the Governor departed Albany early the next morning.
• Governor Paterson fought tirelessly for the State to be well-positioned to win federal Race to the Top education funding. The sources for this article ignore the fact that the Governor held a public leader's meeting the Friday prior to the Tuesday deadline. Senior staff for both legislative leaders refused to work with the Governor's staff to produce compromise legislation. The anonymous sources claiming the Governor waited until the last minute to push for the funding are the same anonymous sources who refused to take action on the reforms needed to win the funding in the first place.
• Clem Harris is a trusted aide to the Governor who has put his graduate studies for a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania on hold to serve the people of New York. He has two master's degrees – one from UPenn and one from SUNY-Albany – and he graduated Summa Cum Laude from SUNY-Albany.
• Gabrielle Turner's hiring followed a standard protocol and she filled a needed role in the Washington office. She has valuable marketing and communications experience; strong contacts with the New York congressional delegation; and served in a similar capacity for then-New York City Comptroller Liz Holtzman. Her efforts have been invaluable to the Administration and she is doing great work for the people of New York.
• Governor Paterson did not cancel an appearance at Columbia University on May 19, 2009. In fact, he asked to speak earlier in the program but his request was denied. This fact is ignored in the article. While the Governor did not cite the reason at the time of the event, he telephoned Columbia University President Lee Bollinger on May 21 to explain the circumstances. The Governor had to be back in Albany the evening of May 19 in time to receive a security briefing in relation to an anti-terrorism sting operation that led to high-profile arrests of four suspects on May 20. Had the school granted the request, the Governor would have spoken. As a matter of policy, the Administration does not disclose information on confidential security briefings.
"The New York Times – in trying to deliver a spectacular expose about the Paterson Administration that would somehow meet the expectations of weeks of over-hyped media intrigue – has instead produced a gossip-laden, subjective, and poorly-sourced narrative. One would hope that equal time would be paid to the Governor's substantive record – taking action early to address the economic crisis; eliminating over $30 billion in deficits; fighting to keep the State solvent; and achieving historic reforms to the Rockefeller Drug Laws, public authorities, and the pension system. It is unfortunate that a prominent publication would waste so much time chasing down rumors and innuendo while paying such little attention to the complex fiscal challenges confronting New York State in a time of historic economic crisis."
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