When Gov. David A. Paterson met recently with a group of mostly black legislators, he got an earful. They wanted to know his strategy for recovering from his disastrous first year. They complained that their constituents were furious over Mr. Paterson’s cuts to hospitals and schools, and that his administration had failed to consult with them on important issues.
It fell to the Rev. Al Sharpton, a Paterson confidant at the meeting, in late March, to make peace. Better communication was needed, Mr. Sharpton said, but he added that lawmakers should stand behind Mr. Paterson — especially now.
“The thing that the governor had to deal with is, there was only one story getting out, and that was negative — even in the African-American community,” Mr. Sharpton recalled.
In a sign of just how far Mr. Paterson’s fortunes have fallen, the governor now faces growing doubts from a group that has been among his most loyal: black elected officials, clergy members and voters.
It is a remarkable turnaround for a man whose ascension to the governor’s office just over a year ago set off a swell of pride and joy in black communities. Mr. Paterson became New York’s first black governor and, along with Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, is one of only two in the country.