President Obama has asked Gov. David A Paterson to withdraw from the New York governor's race, according several senior administration officials directly involved. Reasoning behind this request seems to be the general belief that Paterson cannot recover from his dismal political standing, thus his unpopularity potentially poses threat to other Democrats of the state in next fall's election.
The decision to ask Paterson to step down was proposed by political advisers to the president, but approved by Obama himself.
The White House move will probably bring new attention to Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, who has been debating for quite some time whether to take on Paterson in a primary.
Mr. Paterson, who was elevated to governor from lieutenant governor in March 2008, in the wake of Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s resignation after a prostitution scandal, announced in October that he would seek a full term.
But in the intervening months, White House officials have watched the deteriorating political fortunes of Mr. Paterson with growing alarm, as his popularity plunged and he committed a series of missteps that raised questions about his ability to govern.
Now, Mr. Cuomo effectively has the blessing of the nation’s first black president to run against New York’s first black governor. That will probably neutralize any criticism he may face among the governor’s prominent black allies, including Representative Charles B. Rangel of Harlem, who warned this year that the party would become racially polarized if Mr. Cuomo took on Mr. Paterson.