Paterson to discuss budget deficit at Manhattan event

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ALBANY - Gov. David A. Paterson is expected to use a breakfast event Monday to focus attention on the budget deficit in an ongoing attempt to shift the debate away from whether he should remain in office.

He will conduct a "one-on-one conversation" about the "state's future," according to the invitation for the breakfast at Club 101 in Manhattan.

Sources close to Paterson said he hoped to focus the discussion on next year's $8.2-billion deficit and the urgency of adopting the 2010-11 budget by the April 1 deadline. He also would like to hold a public meeting with legislative leaders later this week, sources said.

Paterson spokeswoman Marissa Shorenstein confirmed last night that the governor would attend the breakfast. "He will discuss the budget, which is his focus," she said.

Paterson hopes to move past allegations that he and members of the State Police interfered in a domestic violence case involving a top Paterson aide. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is probing the matter at Paterson's request.

The charges led prominent Democrats to pressure Paterson to drop his election campaign on Friday, just six days after he launched it at Hofstra University.

Separately yesterday, disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich urged Paterson not to resign. Blagojevich was removed from office after attempting to sell a U.S. Senate seat. "I don't know the circumstances; if he didn't do anything wrong, then you shouldn't quit," Blagojevich said on the Fox Business Network. "You should fight."

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