Paterson's realization

February 26, 2010 1:41:26 PM PST
He's spent his life overcoming the odds. Impressively to be sure.

But even with his less-than-stellar political sense, New York Gov. David Paterson came to realize that, politically, it was over.

The investigation into whether the Governor personally got involved in a criminal case involving his top aide and his girlfriend, who was trying to get a restraining order - was the proverbial straw that broke the Governor's back.

But the end seemed a fait accompli a while ago. The man with the great personality and great sense of humor and great backstory, did not, it turns out, have a great sense of how to govern.

People liked him, and wanted him to succeed, but his missteps got in his way. Remember the fiasco over appointing Hillary Clinton's replacement, and the embarrassing handling of the potential selection of Carolyn Kennedy?

It was, we now know, a harbinger.

Gov. Paterson likes to talk about how he took on the special interests, tried to cope with the absolutely horrible financial situation that now plagues the State's budget, and took a hard line with the dysfunctional and childish State Senate. But he never really gelled as a leader - a job he was thrust into when Gov. Elliot Spitzer was forced from office after a sex scandal.

Tonight, Paterson says he's not going to proceed with his election campaign - a campaign he launched only last Saturday. There are some who are calling for his resignation, but what does that do for New Yorkers? His Lt. Governor was appointed, despite many experts' opinion that it wasn't constitutional, that an election needed to be held.

That said, this Governor-by-promotion is now more of a lame duck than ever. So how much sway will he have over the legislator now? Will he resign?

November, it now seems, can't come soon enough.

Certainly Andrew Cuomo must be feeling that way tonight. The state's Attorney General - and former HUD Secretary and the son of the former Governor - seemed like he was going to enter the race anyway. And he seemed a shoe-in to beat Paterson in the Democratic primary.

Now, there's nothing in his way. And - even before Cuomo announces - there's talk about him being interested in the Presidency. Slow down, please.

We'll have reaction and take a closer look at what this all means, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, what a winter. Are we tired of it yet? Yes. And it's not just your imagination: This winter has been snowier than normal. In fact, it's been the snowiest ever, or at least since they've been keeping records in these 'dem parts. Snow in Central Park now measures 19.9, and growing, and that breaks the 114-year-old record for the snowiest month ever. Snowfall totals for some parts of New York City will top 50 inches this season.

Wow.

Meteorologist Lee Goldberg leads our coverage, at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Scott Clark in Florida with the Yankees and Mets spring training. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

BILL RITTER


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