Huffpost New York

Paterson: I Should Have Stayed In Governor's Race

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ALBANY, N.Y. — A day after a special prosecutor cleared Gov. David Paterson of allegations that he tampered with a witness who had accused a top aide of domestic violence, he said Thursday that he regrets dropping out of the race for a full term as New York governor.

During an interview with New York's WOR-AM, host John Gambling asked Paterson if he had any regrets dropping out in the spring.

"Yes," Paterson said. "When that kind of thing comes up you have to devote time to it and there is also time you have to devote to governing the state."

He said the current candidates for governor are advocating "pretty much what I have done all along. I think that validates that I would have been a strong contender."

But Paterson said he had to set a new goal: Fixing the state's fiscal crisis.

Paterson left the race shortly after he asked Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate the allegations of misuse of the governor's office and state police in the case. Paterson concluded he needed to drop out because he had to deal with the allegations as well as govern the state.

Cuomo has since become the Democratic nominee.

Later Thursday, governor's counsel Peter Kiernan issued a statement responding to parts of the report from investigating special counsel Judith Kaye, who criticized the governor's office for not keeping its public commitment to cooperate fully with her investigation.

Kaye wrote that investigators discovered inadvertently that Kiernan was sharing their document requests with Paterson's personal lawyer, who was unconstrained from sharing it with lawyers for other witnesses. She added that the slow production of documents delayed the probe.

Kiernan responded that the governor was legally entitled to all the information that was shared with him, and that Kiernan's office reviewed a huge volume of material to respond to five requests and provide investigators with 100,000 documents, audio tapes and phone logs while simultaneously helping Paterson with ongong budget and other legislative negotiations.

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Associated Press Writer Michael Virtanen contributed to this report.