Two senior administration officials and a New York Democratic operative told the New York Times that Obama and his political advisers sent the request to Gov. Paterson out of fear "that Mr. Paterson cannot recover from his dismal political standing." Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, a Queens Democrat, conveyed the message to the governor on behalf of the White House.
Paterson recently earned the ire of the president after mentioning Obama in his bungled remarks on racism in the media. Paterson claimed in a radio interview that he and other African-American political leaders, including Obama, are treated unfairly by the media because they are black.
If Paterson were to give up his bid for re-election, the path would seemingly be clear for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to take the Democratic nomination. Cuomo, whose father Mario served three terms as governor, has been polling well in recent months, with 67% of New Yorkers believing he should run.