Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Pat On The Back Will Make It All Better?

You may have heard that this weekend, the White House strongly suggested that David Paterson, the current governor of New York, really shouldn't consider a run in 2010. You know, the way only Chicago politicians can: leak out a strong encouragement, deny that they did any such thing, and make it seem like they never really said anything in the first place. Except, apparently, now they're having to 'fess up after all.

So, you can just guess how this went over when Obama and Paterson met on Monday up in New York. Can you say, AWK-WARD? I think this photo says it all:

I'm just thinking out loud here, but wouldn't you think that the person whose job it was to get this, um, "hint" out there, that person, or someone else in the employ of the president, knew he was going to be SEEING that person like a day or two later?

Yes, "awkward" would be the word to describe it, as this article highlights,

Obama Arrives to an Awkward Hug From Paterson
. Seriously - you'd think someone knew about this:
So what did he say?

President Obama walked down from Air Force One after his plane landed shortly before 11 a.m. Monday. He and Gov. David A. Paterson exchanged a brief greeting. They shook hands. Mr. Obama gave Mr. Paterson a half-embrace, then whispered into his ear for a few seconds. It was impossible for anyone nearby to hear over the roar of the engines.

The meeting, on the tarmac at Albany International Airport, was the first time the two men crossed paths since the news broke that Mr. Obama had told Mr. Paterson that the White House had lost confidence in the governor’s ability to win election next year and that he should abandon his campaign for the good of the Democratic Party.

Also on Monday, for the first time, the White House publicly addressed the issue of the president’s involvement in New York politics and did not deny that Mr. Obama counseled Mr. Paterson to pull the plug on his election plans.

“Well, look, I think everybody understands the tough job that every elected official has right now in addressing many of the problems that we have,” Robert Gibbs, the president’s press secretary, told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I think people are aware of the tough situation that the governor of New York is in. I wouldn’t add a lot to what you’ve read, except this is a decision that he’s going to make. The president understands the tough job that everyone has and the pressure that they are under.”

I am just so sure he does. And how nice of him to add to that pressure for Gov. Paterson. He's a giver, that Obama, he surely is. That probably explains this:
The awkwardness of the moment was perhaps reflected in Obama’s body movements on the tarmac. When he went in for the quick hug of Mr. Paterson, he turned his back to the television news cameras, almost as if to avoid the taking of images that would show the two men in a warm embrace. The news crews said that Mr. Obama did not appear to be smiling when he turned around.

Mr. Obama moved on to greet others, but stepped next to Mr. Paterson to say a few things to the group of five or six people assembled around him. There were a couple of more pats on the back — Mr. Paterson on Mr. Obama and Mr. Obama on Mr. Paterson — and then it was over. Mr. Obama got into one car. Mr. Paterson got into another car. Plenty of New York media were on hand to visually catch the exchange.

The president was in town to deliver an economic address at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. Mr. Paterson arrived at an industrial lab at the college around 11:30 a.m., before the president, and walked to his seat in the front row, just to the left of the stage where Mr. Obama spoke.

Mr. Paterson received light applause from the audience members once they realized he had arrived. At one point he was left standing by himself for about 20 seconds, while others around him greeted each other, his hands clasped in front of him.

Again, you'd think someone in the White House Staff might have known this trip was upcoming, especially since Andrew Cuomo was going to be there. That's important to know:
A few minutes later, the state attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, and his entourage arrived. Mr. Cuomo is the Democrat many party leaders prefer as their gubernatorial candidate next year, believing he would stand a better chance of winning should Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, decide to make a run for the office.

Mr. Cuomo was accompanied at the college by Senator John L. Sampson, the Democratic leader. After spotting Mr. Paterson, Mr. Cuomo gave him a hug, and the two chatted briefly and smiled.

Mr. Cuomo took his seat and socialized with local, state and party officials — at one point laughing so loudly that his laugh could be heard through loudspeakers set in the lab. He even waved at one point to the throng of reporters who were gathered around a set of bleachers next to where Mr. Paterson and all the other officials were awaiting the president.

Mr. Paterson, seated a few seats away, looked far more subdued.

The president began his economic address a few minutes before noon, after an introduction by Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Mr. Paterson was seen playing with his mustache while the president spoke.

Mr. Obama had warm words for both Mr. Paterson and Mr. Cuomo.

“We have special guests here,” the president said. “I want to acknowledge, first of all, a wonderful man, the governor of the great state of New York, David Paterson. Next, your shy and retiring attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, is in the house. Andy is doing great work that has to be done.”

Mr. Obama left the college at 12:35 p.m and had one final brief exchange with Mr. Paterson along the rope line before leaving for the Albany airport. Mr. Paterson gripped the president’s hand with both of his. After leaving Albany, Mr. Obama was bound for New York City. (Nicholas Confessore reported from Albany, and Helene Cooper and Jeremy W. Peters reported from Troy.)

Oh, yes - I am sooooo sure Obama kissing up to Paterson, after basically telling him to get out of the way, is really going to do the trick. Yep - Paterson is probably all aflutter now that The One kinda sorta gave him a half hug, back pat combo something.

Did I forget something? I apologize, I sure did - when the White House tried to push Paterson out, you know what he did? He said he was running anyway. All I can say to Gov. Paterson is, Holla! A little shout-out for standing up to the pressure to get out of the way. Personally, I'm hoping Hillary Clinton will run for that seat, and no longer have to answer to Obama, but I applaud your tenacity. Well done, sir! You're a brave man...

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