Incoming NY governor backs Clinton

March 14, 2008 3:04:21 PM PDT
David Paterson, who on Monday will be New York's first black governor, received a call of congratulations from Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. They chuckled over a political conspiracy that won't be. Paterson has campaigned for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton - Obama's rival for the nomination - and remains a supporter. On Monday, Paterson will succeed Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who is resigning amid an investigation involving a high-priced call girl. Obama's call came Wednesday, shortly after Spitzer announced he would step down. "I know Senator Obama and he just called to congratulate me and to extend, through me, his heartfelt sadness to the Spitzer family," Paterson said Friday. Obama leads Clinton in the delegate race for the nomination and both candidates are aggressively courting the superdelegates who could determine who gets the nod. As a superdelegate, Paterson is in Clinton's column. Spitzer was a Clinton superdelegate, but she will lose that vote with his resignation. Paterson, who said there was no pressure from Obama to switch, relayed a light comment by a mutual friend who said he should flip and endorse Obama, an Illinois senator who hopes to the first black president. Pundits had speculated that if Clinton became president, Spitzer might appoint Paterson to fill her U.S. Senate term. "I said, 'No, that's not why I supported Hillary Clinton,' " Paterson told Obama. "She and I are very good friends and I think she will be the best president."' "He laughed. He knows I'm very committed to Senator Clinton," said Paterson. "When I sign up to support a candidate, it's to the end. I actually supported (General George Armstrong) Custer, but I did leave right before the attack." Clinton plans to attend Paterson's swearing-in on Monday.