Dan Janison Melville. N.Y. Tuesday January 26, 2010. Daniel Janison,

Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997.

During Fox News' "undercard" debate Thursday -- the show for the seven lowest-polling GOP presidential hopefuls -- one candidate declared: "I think you need somebody who hasn't been a career politician."

That statement perked up a few ears in political New York, coming as it did from former Gov. George Pataki.

Over a quarter-century -- between his mid-30s and early 60s -- Pataki served as a mayor, then assemblyman, then state senator, then governor. Even in college, Pataki served as chairman of the Conservative Party of the Yale Political Union, as printed biographies note.

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He did spend some years out of office practicing law, though.

Pataki's pitch -- unique on that stage -- was that he achieved success as governor in enacting conservative policies in a deep-blue state, a sign that he could break through in gridlocked Washington.

He was queried about being "pro-choice." "I have always been appalled by abortion," he replied, adding that as president he'd try to ban tax dollars funding Planned Parenthood.

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CATCHING UP: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office, late last week, began projecting a conspicuous public role in the Bronx Legionnaires' disease outbreak. But Mayor Bill de Blasioand aides from the city's Health Department were of course taking serious action on the crisis well before that.

The first case was apparently reported July 10. By July 31, three persons with Legionella had died, 42 were hospitalized, 17 buildings with cooling towers were tested, and the bacteria was found in three structures. Remediation was completed by then at Lincoln Hospital.

Early last week, the state Health Department's statements on the crisis were still mostly limited to noting its performance of tests at its Wadsworth Center labs.

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MIRROR IMAGE: Albany-based political consultant Bruce Gyory points to an interesting pair of findings after the Quinnipiac University poll found de Blasio's approval rating down.

The Democrat had overall positives from 44 percent of registered voters -- 32 percent among whites, 64 percent among blacks and 48 percent from Hispanics. In June 2001, Quinnipiac showed GOP Mayor Rudy Giuliani with a 51 percent approval rating -- and a mirror image in terms of race. Giuliani came out 28 percent positive among blacks, 63 percent among whites and 49 percent among Hispanics. "So in truth, we have seen this kind of divide before," Gyory said.