NY Governor Paterson Backs Off Racism Claims

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From the NY Times:

STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Gov. David A. Paterson attempted to distance himself on Tuesday from comments he made last week suggesting that some in the news media who are critical of him and other black politicians are motivated by racial bias.

If he intended to quell the furor his remarks caused, his comments on Tuesday appeared to only complicate the situation.

While Mr. Paterson said he regretted the distraction his comments had caused and hoped he could put the episode behind him, he denied having insinuated that race was a factor in criticism of his leadership. That denial — which is contradicted by what he said in two interviews — made for an odd exchange with reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

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“My remarks never say that there’s a race element at all,” Mr. Paterson told reporters after an appearance at Stony Brook University on Long Island, where a speech on his economic initiatives was quickly overshadowed by the controversy over his earlier remarks.

“What I did talk about was some negative racial stereotyping, which I think has gone on from time to time,” Mr. Paterson added. “But I didn’t blame my problems on that, and I’m not changing the remarks I made. I’m just correcting the interpretations of my remarks that are wrong.”

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