News & Politics

Paterson Speech Reax: Papers Exult, GOP Mixed, Democrats Praise Selves


Governor Paterson follows up his program-rich State of the State speech with a round of radio interviews, which Liz Benjamin patiently follows.

She finds Paterson expecting the public will respond better to his message than have Albany legislators (“So what I did, what I decided to do, is put out what is actually necessary and rely on the kind of conversation that you and I are having right now to get the public hopefully to rebel”), which suggests a barnstorming “Give ’em Hell Davey” statewide tour is in the offing.

Though we were most impressed with the speech’s generous helpings of tax incentives and other schemes to revive the local economy, others focused on its confrontational nature. “Paterson rightly declares war on do-nothing Legislature,” said the Daily News; “strikingly blunt,” said the Times; “laced with rebukes,” says the Buffalo News.

We only read the speech, though, and perhaps missed the Governor’s mean faces, threatening gestures, and ad libs like “You’re goin’ down.” Anyway, GOP Gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio said he thought Paterson should have talked more about budget and tax cuts, while Republican Assemblyman Pete Lopez said “the Governor carried this message with the full authority of his office. His sentiment and emotions representative of the many people I’ve spoken with in my work across the seven counties I represent.”

Other Republican responses ranged from cautiously pessimistic (“You have to take it with a grain of salt” — Jim Tedisco) to grudgingly approving (“I’m glad that he is finally talking about [and hopefully he’ll push] many of the positions that the Senate Republicans have advocated for years” — Dean Skelos).

Senate Democratic conference leader John Sampson, in response, mainly bragged on the accomplishments of the legislature (“We reformed school governance and protected children with the toughest drunk driver law in the nation”) and did not mention the Governor.

We will only add that Paterson’s insistence that supporting what’s right is more important than getting it passed into law (“I don’t think it’s the issue of what percentage of your proposals you pass, it’s are you fighting for the things that would make life better for New Yorkers…”) comports with what we’ve seen in him in the past.


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