ALBANY - New York's first couple struck back Wednesday at their perceived enemies.
Calling her husband "a fighter," she said he would not step aside despite dismal poll numbers.
"I have never heard of a president asking a sitting governor not to run . . . ," Paige Paterson told NBC television in Manhattan. "I thought it was very unusual and very unfair."
She added the governor's blindness has contributed to his low approval ratings.
"Most definitely, I think that's one of the things why David really has to come out . . . people have to see who he is," she said."The whole time I dated David I forgot that he had a sight disability. He has a way of maneuvering and getting around [so] that you forget."
An Obama spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment.
Speaking to journalists in Syracuse, Paterson said he didn't know of "any tangible role" Cuomo played in last Sunday's disclosure of White House political affairs director Patrick Gaspard and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Far Rockaway) allegedly telling Paterson that Obama doesn't want him to run. "I'm sure it didn't bother him," the governor said, referring to Cuomo. "A number of people connected to him certainly did that."
An official in Cuomo's office said, "We had absolutely no involvement in any of this whatsoever." Cuomo so far hasn't expressed a public interest in seeking the Executive Mansion next year, despite pleas from Democrats concerned that a weakened Paterson will lead to Republicans winning key state and congressional seats.
The governor also lashed out at unions, special interests and state Democrats, calling them "disloyal" and not concerned about the state's welfare. Paterson said some people "calling for me to step aside" helped Republicans control the State Senate for 43 years.
"If real loyal Democrats, like myself, want to talk to me about this, I have been willing to have conversations with them," he said. "But I'm running . . . and I plan on being governor in 2011."
Paterson touted his success in persuading lawmakers to slow spending growth by $25 billion since March 2008, saving New York from the dire financial straits of California. Still, he said closing the $3-billion budget deficit will require deep cuts.
Despite now having a clear successor in Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch, Paterson dismissed suggestions from some Democrats that he will resign next year. He said, "My mission is to serve out my term and then to have another term."