Is Ethics Fight Driving Paterson Batty?

Governor Paterson pulled a head-swiveling act right out of "The Exorcist" yesterday in response to the new ethics reform package announced by both houses of the legislature. In his own comments, as Daily News scribe Elizabeth Benjamin reports, Paterson was initially all happy talk:

"Well, if it differs from ours, my first blush is that the proposal I put out is the one that I think is the best. However, I am very pleased that they responded within one week, and I think that's the basis for a very good negotiation. I thank them and will read over the proposal...it's certainly the beginning of a negotiation which I welcome."

A couple of hours later, the gov's top spokesman, Peter Kauffmann, issued a slash-and-burn statement which read as though it were prepared by Paterson's evil twin:

"The Governor is stunned that legislative leaders would be so disrespectful to the public that only one week after he proposed a sweeping and real overhaul of the ethics system in Albany, they would try to pass this off as anything more than election year window dressing...This proposal does nothing to address the underlying issues that have caused the people of New York to lose faith and trust in their government."

Yikes. Will the real accidental governor please stand up?

BTW, legislators said late yesterday that they're still waiting for Paterson to fill in the blanks on his own avowedly tough proposal with a detailed bill.


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