A former Democratic governor of New York said that President Barack Obama "got away with it" if he was not born in the United States.
On his radio show Wednesday, former Gov. David Paterson (D) was discussing the birther issue with NBC News White House Correspondent Chuck Todd when he made the remarks, according to Capitol Tonight. Paterson had been defending Obama's citizenship and showing his Hawaii birth certificate before he made the comment.
"You know, even if he wasn't born in the United States at this point, it's kind of like he got away with it. A lot of people get away with a lot of things."
"You know, we learned later that Nixon spied on Johnson's Paris peace talks. That was actually an act of...uh...I mean it was against the interests of the United State's government. You've got to say that before you would say it was treason. But it was, but he got away with it. They decided it wasn't a good thing to bring up at that particular time. Not only did he get away with it, he won the election, so maybe they should have brought it up."
Paterson, who became the Empire State's governor in 2008 following Eliot Spitzer's resignation, has had a rocky relationship with the Obama Administration, including suggesting that Obama could become a one-term president. The president did not support Paterson - New York's first African-American governor - in his 2010 bid for a full term. Paterson dropped out of the 2010 election rather than oppose Andrew Cuomo.
Paterson's remarks come in a series of debate nationally over the birth certificate issue. This week, Michigan Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Pete Hoekstra called for the creation of a federal agency to check presidential candidates' birth certificates. The Missouri Legislature held an extensive debate last month over a proposal to require candidates to show their birth certificates to the state's secretary of state, while in Arizona, Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R) briefly wanted Obama to show his birth certificate to him. Maricopa County, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio has sent his "posse" to Hawaii to investigate the president's birth certificate.
The subject comes up as an internet hoax surfaced regarding rumors that Obama claimed to have been born in Kenya during debates in the 2004 Illinois U.S. Senate election, a subject denied by Illinois Republicans.
UPDATE: 8 p.m. --
Former New York Gov. David Paterson (D) used the beginning of his radio show Tuesday afternoon to say that he believes that President Barack Obama was born in the United States and to take a New York State political news anchorwoman to task for her reporting of remarks he made on the show Tuesday.
Paterson said that Liz Benjamin, anchor of the New York cable show Capital Tonight, relied on a report on a conservative news blog, WND, to write her post on the Capital Tonight blog regarding remarks Paterson made about the birth certificate. Paterson said Benjamin did not listen to the entire show and took the remarks out of context. He also says that Benjamin, a powerhouse in New York state political journalism, did not contact him, his spokesman, or either of his two assistants for comment. Benjamin did link to the podcast of Paterson's show in her blog post.
"The Daily News doesn't do it," Paterson said. "They put on their blog as if it's a fact."
Benjamin authored the political blog and a print columnist for the New York Daily News until April 2010, when she took over Capital Tonight. Capital Tonight -- which airs on the Time Warner cable station YNN -- is not affiliated with the Daily News.
Paterson said that his comment was in response to a caller who said that he had evidence that Obama was not born in the United States and that he had spent time before the "got away with it" quote saying that he believes the birth certificate issue is dead and that Obama was born in Hawaii, a point the former governor stressed today. Paterson also noted that he has invited Jerome Corsi, an author of a leading birther book, to appear on his radio show to discuss the issue.
“That is my position," Paterson said today. "That he was born in Hawaii. Earlier in the conversation I said that the American people have accepted the documents put out by the White House.”