3:15 p.m. Prior to the Governor’s arrival, the webcast is blacked out, but we can hear reporters gabbing cheerfully; lulls in the chatter, accompanied by the clicking of cameras, indicate, we’re guessing, the arrival of some functionary the journalists think may be followed by Paterson.
People keep asking someone named Laura for a time estimate. “Laura, what’s the time now?” Five minutes, she says. “What’s he doing?” someone asks. Laughter.
3:20 p.m. “Here he comes, here he comes.” Dead silence. Then: “It’s gonna be just a few more minutes, about five to eight minutes.” They test the mike again. Maybe he’s getting a rubdown.
3:25 p.m. Damn it, the feed’s screwed up — wait, that was it? “Today I am announcing that I am ending my campaign for Governor of the State of New York.” It was “increasingly clear to me in the last few days that I cannot run for office and try to manage the state’s business at the same time.” But “I have never abused my office.”
Asked about his initial claim that he’d only leave the job prior to election in a box, Paterson rejoined, “I’m leaving because of the ballot box, because it will be hard to reelect me when I’m not running.” Still hasn’t lost that puckish sense of humor.
Update: First reaction to arrive in our inbox: that of Congressman Michael McMahon of Staten Island. “I think all New Yorkers appreciate him stepping up to the plate after Governor Spitzer and his attempt to get New York back on track,” says McMahon, “but these allegations have become a distraction of his ability to lead…. I hope Democrats will unite behind Andrew Cuomo and help elect him our next Governor.” You’ll be hearing a lot of this, we think.
Update 2: We weren’t wrong: State Dem chairman Jay Jacobs announces, “Andrew Cuomo is going to be our nominee.”
He bragged on his achievements, and promised more in what’s left of his term. “Not to strive for service, but to step back.” It’s always hard to read him (his wife seems shell-shocked), but we’d say this comes to him, as we assumed the end would, as a relief .