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The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09… and the Associated Press are reporting that aides to President Barack Obama, with Obama’s consent, have asked New York Governor David Paterson to quit his already announced campaign for a full term as Governor of New York. According to the reports, they did so because of Paterson’s bad poll numbers (only a 21 percent approval rating http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes…. ), and the concern that, with him at the top of the ticket, many Democrats in Congress and the NY State House would be at risk for defeat next year.
It is almost unprecedented for a sitting (or even a former) President to become involved in a primary. The question is, if Obama believes he is popular enough among Democrats to chose the nominee for Governor in New York, will he do the same in Massachusetts? Gov. Deval Patrick has poll numbers that are even worse. Only 19 percent of the electorate giving him a favorable rating http://www.boston.com/news/loc… .
Nationwide Obama’s poll numbers are down quite a bit, but still respectable at 53 percent approval, which means his numbers in Massachusetts will be even higher than that. Obama’s aides may think that those numbers are high enough for him to intercede in far more states than just New York.
There are some differences. Patrick does not have any announced or rumored opponents among Democrats, at least not yet. Paterson has NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo actively considering a primary challenge. In Massachusetts, Treasurer Cahill switched to unenrolled in order to avoid running as a Democrat. Obama may wait for a credible Democrat to emerge before sending Patrick a message.
President Obama, after demonstrating very deft political skills in the first five months of his presidency, has skirted from stumble to falter almost continuously since. While the nation is still looking for economic recovery, the Obama Administration seems more interested in playing party politics.