The only item on the governor’s official schedule today is a radio interview in New York City, and apparently won’t be in Buffalo.
Earlier this week, he told WBEN that – as of that time– he was uncertain of whether he would be in town and just one day after the event was announced publicly Paterson said he didn’t know if he was invited.
“In his own way, I think the Governor was expressing his unhappiness that the courtesy of giving him a heads up, letting him know that the President of the United States is coming into the state that he heads, wasn’t given to him,” says New York Post editor and Albany commentator Fred Dicker.
“It wasn’t surprising given the difficulties he’s had with the White House,” Dicker said, after listening to Paterson’s WBEN interview.
In an interview the day after the President’s Buffalo trip was announced Paterson stammered and hesitated when asked about the Obama trip, and reluctantly said he was glad Obama would be coming to town. Asked then if he was aware of an invite, Paterson said ” No, I’m, I’m just saying I don’t.”
Typically the guest list for such events doesn’t default to tradition, but is made by the administration, according to Nick Langworthy, the Erie County GOP Chairman, who helped organize President Bush’s 2004 visit to Buffalo, while a staffer for Cong. Tom Reynolds.
“Those are decisions made at the White House level,” Langworthy says. “They have to decide where are their allegiances here on the local level.”
The event is likely to prominently feature Sen Kirstin Gillibrand, who faces a tough re-election bid and urged Obama to bring his series of town hall events to Buffalo. And while others may not be accommodated on the podium, the region’s top Democrats are likely to be in the room, according to former Erie County and New York State Democratic Party Chair Joe Crangle.
So will the stage – or airport access to the president — represent a snapshot of who is in and who is out?
“Yeah, but I think you are not going to see to many out,” Crangle says . ” I think it’s just going to be trying to get everyone together, because the fact (the president is here) should be very positive no matter who you are or what you are running for as well as for the local party organizations.”