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Report: Obama asked Paterson to back out of governor's race

President Barack Obama has requested Gov. David A. Paterson drop out of next year’s New York governor’s race, according to a newspaper report.

The New York Times reports today that Obama has requested Paterson step aside because of his persistently low poll ratings, which Democrats worry could hand key state offices and congressional seats to Republicans. The Times, citing anonymous sources, reports that Obama’s request was conveyed to Paterson by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens), a confidante of both men.

The decision to ask Paterson to step aside was proposed by advisers to Obama, but approved by the president himself, an official told the newspaper.

The Obama administration has previously inserted itself into New York Democratic politics when it successfully persuaded Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) not to mount a challenge to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Paterson has come under increasing pressure not to run next year though so far he has ignored these calls. Last week he appointed Richard Fife his campaign manager. Fife was a senior advisor in New York for Obama’s presidential campaign.

Paterson could not be reached for comment last night. Some Democrats believe state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, whose popularity hovers around 70 percent, should top the ticket. Staff and wire reports

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