Gov. David Paterson, a big supporter of Barack Obama, fears that if his fellow Democrat becomes president he, like others before him, will neglect New York’s dire fiscal needs.
If “he’s president and he knows he can always depend on winning New York, we may have the same problems with him that we had with President Clinton,” Paterson said Monday. “(Clinton) raised all this money in New York and then went down to Washington — we didn’t see any change in the reimbursement rate from Washington while he was president.”
Paterson was in Washington last week asking Congress for higher Medicaid payments, greater unemployment benefits, infrastructure spending and food stamp benefits to help New York cope with a projected $47 billion in deficits over the next four years.
But Paterson, New York’s first black governor, says Democratic contenders have a history of collecting contributions and electoral votes from New York, then ignoring the state’s struggles once elected because it’s a reliably blue state.
“I went to fundraisers for Democrats,” Paterson said. “Oh, they rail about President Bush and this, that and the other thing, then they go to Washington and vote against New York.”
Paterson was a longtime supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidential nomination, but threw his support to Obama after she conceded.
While Paterson said it would be one of the “biggest thrills” of his life to see Obama elected, he’s afraid New York will continue to be neglected by Democratic leaders in Washington under an Obama presidency.
On WWRL 1600, a New York City radio station, Paterson said help from the federal government is only fair since his state sends tens of billions of dollars more to Washington in taxes than it gets back in government programs.
“New York has been the bailout package for the federal government,” Paterson said.
The Obama campaign had no comment Monday. Officials from the McCain campaign didn’t immediately return calls for comment.