George Pataki for President


57th Governor of New York
Term of office:
1995 – present
Lieutenant Governor: Betsy McCaughey Ross, 1995-99
Mary Donohue, 1999 - present
Born: 24 June 1945
Peekskill, New York
Political party: Republican
Profession: Attorney
Spouse: Libby Pataki
Religion: Roman Catholic


Pataki entered Yale University in 1964 on an academic scholarship, and graduated in 1967. While there he served as chairman of the Conservative Party of the Yale Political Union.[1] He received his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1970.[2] He received his Master's in 1971.

History and campaigns

 Early Political Career

Pataki first won elective office in 1981, as mayor of the Westchester County city of Peekskill. From 1985 to 1992, he represented a state Assembly district that included parts of Westchester, Putnam and Duchess counties. In 1992, Pataki beat incumbent Republican State Senator Mary Goodhue in a primary and served one term before running for Governor.


First term, 1995–1998

1994 campaign

Pataki was a first term state senator from Westchester County when he launched his bid for the Republican nomination for governor in 1994. He said he launched the campaign because of his frustration in the Senate regarding how Albany worked and on tax issues. He was little known statewide and his campaign received a boost when he was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Al D'Amato. He received the party's endorsement at the spring state convention and easily defeated former State Republican Chairman Richard Rosenbaum in the September primary. Pataki was considered an underdog from the start since he was running against three term Gov. Mario Cuomo and that Pataki had little name recognition statewide. D'Amato reportedly backed Pataki because of a poll which showed a pro-choice, fiscal conservative from the New York City suburbs could win statewide for governor. The poll also showed a female running mate for lieutenant governor would help the ticket, thus leading to the selection of academic Betsy McCaughey as Pataki's running mate.

The polls had Gov. Cuomo up by as much as ten points going into the final two weeks, but they then narrowed at the end. In reality, however, Pataki remained neck and neck with Cuomo during the entire race, focusing solely on the issues of tax cuts and the death penalty during the campaign. In addition he made an issue of Cuomo seeking a fourth term as governor and pledged to serve only two terms in office. Cuomo was helped late in the race by the endorsement of New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In the end, Pataki narrowly defeated Cuomo in the general election. (It has been said that Pataki was elected by voters choosing the "ABC" candidate: Anybody But Cuomo.)


Pataki has long been regarded as an environmentalist and he has made the environment and open space preservation a top priority of his administration. He has long cited that Theodore Roosevelt is his political hero for his work as a conservationist. Pataki has conserved more land statewide and has pushed bond issues in referendums which provided more money to preserve land and clean up the state's rivers and lakes. He has been a long standing advocate for cleaning up the Hudson River and in pushing stricter environmental regulations and penalties.

 Death penalty

Polls showed that the majority of New Yorkers wanted the state's death penalty laws restored. A bill to restore the death penalty passed the Legislature several years in a row, only to be vetoed by Cuomo. Pataki made the issue a top priority of his and when the bill reached his desk he signed it into law in 1995. The state's Court of Appeals later ruled the death penalty unconstitutional in the form in which it was written and the State Legislature has not passed a bill to restore it in a new form.

Higher education

Pataki has long vetoed increases to spending at the State University of New York and City University of New York. In addition he has vetoed increases to funding for the state's tuition assistance program and equal opportunity program. His higher education policies have included calling for laws to limit the amount of time a student can receive state tuition assistance while in a public university, which he says will increase the rate of graduation in four years. He has also appointed more SUNY and CUNY trustees who are against open enrollment and remedial education policies and who have pushed for a stricter core curriculum program in the public universities. Pataki was criticized for appointing his close friend and former budget director, Robert King, as the Chancellor of SUNY.

Tax cuts and spending cuts

Pataki has been a long-time advocate of tax cuts during his administration and his time in the state legislature. He signed and sponsored several tax cuts during his first term in office and in addition made spending cuts to the budgets he proposed. This has included a push for privatization of state entities.

During the first years of Pataki's administration, he began to institute the major spending cuts which he has advocated for most of his career. Among the cost cutting initiatives was a push to privatize of the World Trade Center from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The New York City governor's office for more than 20 years had been in the center. The privatization effort took effect a few weeks before the September 11 attack when Larry Silverstein assumed a 99-year lease for $3.2 billion. The events and initiatives (or lack thereof) regarding the Center have defined the Pataki governorship.

Delayed budgets

While Pataki campaigned against the New York State practice of not adopting an ontime budget by the start of the April 1 state fiscal year for over a decade, Pataki's first 10 years in office did not see the adoption of an ontime budget.

 "Three men in a room" decision-making

Pataki campaigned against the practice of having major state policy decisions be made by "three men in a room" — the governor, the Assembly Speaker, and the Senate Majority Leader.

Second term, 1999–2002

1998 campaign

Pataki was considered the frontrunner from the start of the 1998 campaign for governor. He was unopposed for the Republican nomination and paired with a new running mate, Judge Mary Donohue. The Democrats faced a primary battle between New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey Ross, and former Transportation Commissioner James LaRocca. Vallone captured the Democratic nomination, with Thomas Golisano running as the Independence nominee and McCaughey Ross as the Liberal Party nominee. Pataki was easily reelected to a second term in office.

Policy and political work

In 1999, Governor Pataki signed into law comprehensive health care legislation that provided health insurance coverage, under Family Health Plus, to lower income adults who do not have health insurance through their employers. In 1999, Pataki explored a possible bid for the Presidency. In 2000, Pataki was also mentioned as a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate against First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Vice presidency

In July 2000, Pataki's name surfaced on the short list to be the running mate for Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush, along with the names of Governor John Engler of Michigan, Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, former Senator John Danforth of Missouri, and former U.S. Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina. Bush eventually selected the man who was in charge of scouting vice presidential candidates, former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Pataki had strongly campaigned for Bush including an unsuccessful effort to keep John McCain off the New York primary ballot (which Bush ultimately won).

 September 11 terrorist attacks

Pataki's New York City office had moved out of the World Trade Center in the months before the September 11, 2001 attacks to new offices on Third Avenue.

Pataki and Giuliani appointed the LMDC to distribute nearly $10 billion in federal grants and to oversee the construction of a memorial, though as of September 2006 the latter has not begun. Giuliani had to step down because of term limits and Pataki took the lead on the building process, though the Port Authority is a state-run agency and thus Giuliani had very little control in the rebuilding effort anyway.

Native American Casinos

Pataki has been a long advocate for Native American casinos in upstate New York. He has proposed the creation of several casinos throughout upstate with the revenue being shared by the state, tribe and municipal government. In the 1990s he was able to secure the creation of one casino on an Indian reservation outside Syracuse. His plans to create new casinos were blocked by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver until after the Sept. 11 attacks, when Silver was persuaded that more money could come into the state government. Pataki soon signed an agreement to create new casinos in the Catskills, Niagara Falls, and in Buffalo. The Seneca Niagara Casino opened in Niagara Falls in January 2003.

Niagara falls casino money fight

As a part of the creation of the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, an agreement was reached to give a percentage of the slot machine revenue to the City of Niagara Falls each year to spend on local tourism projects and projects relating to hosting the casino. Money was allocated for 2003, but disputes have come up since then. Part of the dispute is a claim by Niagara County to receive a share of the money for county government projects and another part had to do with restructuring the local commission charged with allocating the money. Pataki has called for the money to be given to a state entity he created to spur economic development in Niagara Falls, thus leaving the money under his control, a decision which is opposed by local leaders.

 Third term, 2003–2006

2002 campaign

Pataki was considered a strong contender for a third term. He ran again on a ticket with Lt. Gov. Mary Donohue and the Democrats faced a primary battle between State Comptroller Carl McCall and former HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. Pataki emphasized his previous work and the need to have continuity following Sept. 11.

Pataki sought the nomination of the Independence Party in his bid for a third term as well. He faced Thomas Golisano, the party's founder in his bid for the nomination. Pataki ran an active primary campaign and lost to Golisano. Donohue did win the primary for lieutenant governor and was both the running mate of Pataki and Golisano in the general election.

Pataki faced McCall and Golisano in the general election, during which he continued to empashize his past work for the state. He easily defeated the two, and at times it appeared Golisano would outpoll McCall, which did not happen in the end.

Cuomo–Pataki rematch

A Pataki–Cuomo rematch nearly occurred in the 2002 election. Mario's son Andrew Cuomo announced plans to run. However, he stumbled on April 17 and ultimately withdrew before the primary at the urging of his mentor Bill Clinton when Cuomo was quoted in the media as saying (regarding Pataki's performance post-9/11):

"Pataki stood behind the leader. He held the leader's coat. He was a great assistant to the leader. But he was not a leader. Cream rises to the top, and Rudy Giuliani rose to the top."[2]

World Trade Center legacy

Pataki's troubles with the World Trade Center development began almost immediately in the third term.

Although the LMDC was not the property owner (the Port Authority was) or lease holder (Larry Silverstein was), it announced a contest to create the master plan for the site to restore all 10 million square feet of lost space and build a memorial. In late 2002, LMDC picked a plan dubbed Project THINK. Pataki intervened to support a plan put forth by Daniel Libeskind entitled Memory Foundations. LMDC backed down and gave the commission to Libeskind who had never designed a tall building.

Although eventually most of Libeskind's plan was to be ignored it established two concepts that will define the Pataki legacy (if they are built) at Ground Zero -- the placement (and name) of the 1,776 foot high Freedom Tower and the concept that the memorial be below street level. A symbolic cornerstone (with Pataki's name) for the Freedom Tower was laid on July 4, 2004, and after numerous design changes, construction commenced in May, 2006.

Other LMDC decisions were to give Pataki WTC headaches. Although the LMDC had no plans to actually own and operate a memorial (it designated the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation to do that), in 2003 LMDC conducted a national contest to build the memorial. The winning memorial design Reflecting Absence by Michael Arad threw out the restriction of LMDC's own master design. The design was remarkably simple as it was devoid of any above ground ruins or monuments. However, the memorial's main feature waterfalls falling into a 30 foot deep pit of the approximately the footprint of the towers have proven to be remarkably expensive to construct with estimates of its cost now approaching $1 billion making it by far the most expensive memorial ever built. Pataki has passed along nearly $200 million in federal grants for it.

The LMDC also saddled the Foundation with fundraising responsibilities for a Performing Arts Center, a Drawing Art Gallery and a think tank dubbed the International Freedom Center. The Freedom Center drew particular heat from WTC family members who said it would not have a proper focus at Ground Zero and that it potentially could criticize American policies. After the Drawing Center voluntarily withdrew (following criticism of its exhibits elsewhere), Pataki intervened and pulled the plug on the Freedom Center in 2005.

While Pataki has been heavily criticized for the snail pace of development at Ground Zero, New York City enjoyed a building boom elsewhere in the city which has dramatically changed the city's skyline.

 2004 Republican Convention in New York City

Pataki was instrumental in bringing the 2004 Republican National Convention to Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. He introduced President George W. Bush. A year prior, Pataki had boasted Bush would carry the state in the 2004 elections; Bush lost New York 58-40 to John Kerry. New York City, which normally votes overwhelmingly Democratic (the Democrat Presidential candidates carried 78 percent of the city vote in both 2000 and 2004[3]), had never hosted a Republican Convention.

In the 2004 elections, not only did Republicans' hope of Bush carrying the state fail to materialize, but Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat, won 71% in his reelection bid when he trounced the pro-choice, little-known Republican nominee, Assemblyman Howard Mills. Mills' Senate campaign attracted little statewide attention or money, and it is reported that he agreed to run for the Senate only after Pataki's request to run was turned down by several other candidates. Mills was defeated in the largest landslide in state history.

In addition, Democrats picked up one Congressional seat, gained seats in the state legislature, and in many local races across the state. Many Republicans, such as Congressman Peter T. King, blamed Pataki and what they viewed as his aimlessness as causing the rout. Pataki replaced some advisors and the state party replaced Chairman Alexander Treadwell. In 2005, Pataki enjoyed some positive publicity when the state passed its first on-time budget in twenty-one years, but he continued to suffer from low approval ratings, as well as Republican losses in local races that November, especially on Long Island, which was key to Pataki's three victories.

Voter anger with state government

In 2004, there was a growing voter dissatisfaction with how the state government conducted business. Two decades of late budgets and decision making by three men in a room on key issues led to voter anger and the defeat of several legislative incumbants. Pataki started to hold open sessions with legislative leaders on budget issues, and including the minority leaders of the Senate and Assembly in these discussions. In addition he encouraged the adoption of an ontime budget and in 2005 and 2006 the state budget was adopted on time.

State budget powers

Pataki's term has been marked with annual debates with the State Legislature over the powers allocated to the Executive and Legislative Branches on the adoption of the state budget. Pataki argued that the state constitution and court rulings gave him the power to submit a budget which allocated revenue and set policy. Pataki said the Legislature could then only change the numbers but could not change any policy decisions made in the budget document. Pataki and the Legislature ended up in court and the courts ruled in Pataki's favor, giving him more budgetary power. In 2005, the Legislature placed a constitutional amendment on the ballot to allocate more budget power to them. Pataki led a successful public information campaign to defeat this provision and to retain his budget authority. In 2006, Pataki vetoed a large part of the budget adopted by the Legislature because of these rulings.

Upstate economic development

Pataki has been criticized for not doing enough on the issue of upstate economic development. He has created a series of Empire Zones statewide which serve to spur economic growth in cities by providing tax incentives for businesses. In addition he has used the state's banking laws to create banking development zones to intice banks to settle in upstate cities. Pataki has considered casino gaming an economic development program for upstate and he sponsored the creation of an Indian casino in Niagara Falls and in Buffalo to spur economic development. He has also promoted tourism practices for the upstate economy and created centers for excellence in the sciences in several upstate cities to spur economic growth. These policies have been criticized for not doing enough to encourage economic development, though New York City doesn't fare much better in that respect.

 Liberal Republican legacy

In 2003 Pataki made a controversial budget proposal in which he proposed several tax cuts, despite the state's rising deficits. He also made cuts in education and health care funding which, some say, may close emergency rooms and turn non-profit hospitals into for-profits. Pataki argued that new taxes would drive businesses out-of-state, reducing jobs, further compounding the deficit.

Pataki has always been liberal on social issues but by his third term many social conservatives simmered over his continued support of abortion rights as well as his heavy lobbying in favor of a gay rights bill which had languished in the state Senate for many years due to the opposition of Senate Leader, Joseph Bruno, from conservative upstate Rensselaer County. In 2003, Bruno finally gave in; the bill passed the senate and was signed into law by Pataki.

On July 27, 2005, Pataki announced his intention not to seek a fourth term as governor in 2006. Along with several meetings with donors, trips to states important for their primaries, and an August 2005 veto of a bill that would allow sale of the morning-after pill, this fuels speculation that Pataki will seek the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, although, his "morning-after" pill veto notwithstanding, he may still be too liberal for the party's grassroots conservatives to win the nomination.

Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Pataki's tenure has been marked with the long-standing Campaign for Fiscal Equity suit regarding the state's funding of public education. The CFE has sued in order to get more state money for the New York City public schools and to guarantee a sound education for all students. Pataki has fought the lawsuit his entire term, saying that the state should not pay for the increase funding and that the state constitution only guaranteed a sound education till 8th grade. Pataki has filed several appeals for the decisions and the final decision will be made after he leaves office.

] Mandatory Pre-K

As a part of the CFE lawsuit, education advocates have tried to seek state support and funding for mandatory pre-kindegarden classes in the state's public schools. Pataki has blocked this measure which has support from legislative leaders and was a pet issue of former Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey Ross.


Pataki suffered a burst appendix and had an emergency appendectomy on February 16, 2006 at Hudson Valley Hospital Center. Six days later, he developed a post-surgical complication (bowel obstruction caused by adhesions) [3] and was transferred to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center for a second operation. From there, he was discharged on March 6. Doctors advised rest at home since his conditions could last up to a month. On the week of March 20-24, 2006, he appeared at a public press conference looking fit and thinner to comment on the progress of the annual budget and the recent Campaign for Fiscal Equity CFE ruling from the New York state court. During Pataki's two surgeries, when he was under anesthesia, power officially transferred to Lt. Gov. Mary Donohue, making her the state's acting governor. Pataki came under criticism when it was revealed that he and his staff did not inform Donohue that she was acting governor the first time, until after Pataki had woken up and resumed power.

Bilderberg conference 2006

Pataki attended the 2006 Bilderberg conference at the Brook Street Hotel in Ottawa, Canada on June 8-11. Due to the intense secrecy surrounding the organization, Pataki's precise function or role at the event is not known, although (as is usually the case with anything involving the Bilderberg Group) speculation is rampant.

 Lieutenant Governors

Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey Ross

Pataki's 1994 running mate for lieutenant governor was Betsy McCaughey, an academic best known for her critique of the Clinton health care plan. McCaughey was selected because of her work on the Clinton health care plan. It is reported that Pataki choose McCaughey over sofa bed heiress Bernadette Castro for the spot. Castro was nominated for the U.S. Senate in 1994.

McCaughey faced problems with Pataki and Pataki's staff from the start. It is reported that Pataki did not like McCaughey's relationship with the press or her public discussion of policy differences the two had. McCaughey also lost support from Pataki when she said that D'Amato had made suggestive comments to her.

McCaughey married during her first year as lieutenant governor and became Betsy McCaughey Ross. Lt. Gov. McCaughey Ross had many problems from the start with Pataki, who did not like her public displays and constant public attention. Pataki assigned her work on health care and education issues. Lt. Gov. McCaughey Ross said that Pataki did not listen to her advice on these issues, including her calls for mandatory state funding for pre-kindergarten in the state.

Lt. Gov. McCaughey Ross stood during Pataki's 1996 State of the State Address which attracted attention to her (standing behind Pataki in a bright blue suit) and away from Pataki. She announced constant policy differences with Pataki and announced that Pataki would not talk to her. Pataki's public feud with McCaughey Ross inluded at times taking her state police bodyguards from her and trying to take her Albany office away. Pataki's aides constantly discussed McCaughey Ross in a negative context in the press and Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro feuded with Lt. Gov. McCaughey Ross on the radio.

In April 1997, Pataki announced that he was dropping Lt. Gov. McCaughey Ross from his 1998 reelection ticket. McCaughey Ross said she would seek elected in 1998 either as lieutenant governor, governor or to the U.S. Senate. In September of that year, she became a Democrat and unsuccessfully sought the governorship in that party's primary. She was on the 1998 general election ballot as the nominee of the Liberal Party for governor.

Lt. Gov. Mary Donohue

After dropping McCaughey Ross from his 1998 ticket, Pataki considered several replacement running mates. In the spring of 1998 he announced his choice of State Supreme Court Justice Mary Donohue for lieutenant governor. It is reported that Pataki also considered State Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro, Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples and State Sen. Mary Lou Rath for the lieutenant governorship as well. Naples would later join Pataki's Cabinet as State Motor Vehicles Commissioner.

In office, Lt. Gov. Donohue has been relegated to projects outside the governor's inner circle. She has worked on school violence prevention, local government, small business, and homeland security issues. Many of her duties have consisted of delivering speeches to groups around the state or filling in for Pataki at ceremonial events. Lt. Gov. Donohue has kept a generally low profile around the state.

In 2002, it was reported that Pataki considering dropping Lt. Gov. Donohue from his ticket and asking her to run for state attorney general instead. It is reported that he considered Secretary of State Randy Daniels and Erie County Executive Joel Giambra for lieutenant governor. Pataki decided to keep Lt. Gov. Donohue on as his 2002 running mate.

Lt. Gov. Donohue has announced that she will not run to succeed Pataki in 2006.

Cabinet members

As of April 2006
  • Secretary to the Governor: John Cahill
  • Director of Aging: Neil E. Lane
  • Acting Commissioner of Agriculture: Patrick Brennan
  • Superintendent of Banks: Diana Taylor
  • Director of the Budget: John F. Cape
  • Chief Information Officer: Michael R. Mittleman
  • Commissioner of Children and Family Services: John A. Johnson
  • Civil Service Commission President: Daniel E. Wall
  • Consumer Protection Board Chairwoman: Teresa Santiago
  • Commissioner of Correctional Services: Glenn Goord
  • Director of Criminal Justice Services: Chauncey Parker
  • Commissioner of Empire State Development: Charles Gargano
  • Commissioner of Environmental Conservation: Denise Sheehan
  • Director of Emergency Management: John Gibb
  • Commissioner of General Services: Daniel Hogan
  • Director of Small Cities: Glen King
  • Commissioner of Health: Antonia Novello
  • Director of Homeland Security: James McMahon
  • Commissioner of Housing and Community Renewal: Judith Calogero
  • Commissioner of Human Rights: Michelle Donaldson
  • Superintendent of Insurance: Howard Mills
  • Commissioner of Mental Health: Sharon Carpinello
  • Commissioner of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities: Thomas Maul
  • Commissioner of Motor Vehicles: Nancy Naples
  • Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation: Bernadette Castro
  • Public Service Commission Chairman: William Flynn
  • Racing and Wagering Board Chairwoman: Cheryl Ritchko-Buley
  • Director of Regulatory Reform: Eileen Natoli
  • Secretary of State: Christopher Jacobs
  • Tax Appeals Tribunal President: Charlie Nesbitt
  • Commissioner of Taxation and Finance: Andrew Eristoff
  • Commissioner of Transportation: Thomas Madison
  • Director of Veterans Affairs: George Basher

Former Cabinet members

As of April 2006
  • Secretary to the Governor: Brad Race
  • Superintendent of Banks: Neil Levin
  • Superintendent of Banks: Elizabeth McCaul
  • Budget Director: Robert King
  • Director of Criminal Justice Services: Katherine Lapp
  • Commissioner of Environmental Conservation: John Cahill
  • Superintendent of Insurance: Neil Levin
  • Superintendent of Insurance: Greg Serio
  • Commissioner of Labor: John E. Sweeney
  • Racing and Wagering Board Chairman: Michael Holbrook
  • Director of Regulatory Reform: Robert King
  • Secretary of State: Alexander Treadwell
  • Secretary of State: Randy Daniels
  • Acting Secretary of State: Frank Milano
  • Commissioner of Transportation: John Daly

Cultural references

The last name of Hey Arnold! character Helga Pataki is taken from the governor.

 State tickets on which Pataki has run

1994 Republican and Conservative Tickets
1998 NYS Republican and Conservative Party Tickets
2002 NYS Republican and Conservative Party Tickets


  1. ^ "N.Y. Gov. George Pataki to deliver Class Day address", Yale Daily News, 2002-05-26. Retrieved on 2006-04-21.
  2. ^ George Pataki Biography. Retrieved on 2006-04-21.
About Governor Pataki

George E. Pataki, the 53rd Governor of New York State, is currently the longest serving Governor in the United States. Governor Pataki is New York State's first Republican-Conservative chief executive, defeating the Democratic Party's liberal icon Mario Cuomo in November of 1994 to win his first term as Governor. A proven tax cutter and job creator, New Yorkers have overwhelmingly re-elected Governor Pataki to two successive four-year terms as their Governor.

Governor Pataki learned at a very early age to value the core Republican principles of hard work and individual initiative, growing up on his family's farm in Peekskill, New York. It was his experience on the farm that formed his core "governing philosophy," which all Republicans share: belief in the people, not bureaucracy; pursuit of smart ideas that work; and the expansion of personal freedoms that allow hardworking citizens to enjoy the benefits of their hard work.

When Governor Pataki first took office, he inherited a State that did just the opposite. New York taxed too much, spent too much and was soft on crime. Businesses and jobs were leaving the State in droves, while welfare rolls spiraled out of control. New York's economy was on the brink of disaster and many neighborhoods were confronted by Skyrocketing crime rates. But 10 years of strong Republican policies and leadership under Governor Pataki have returned government and its communities back to the people.


George Pataki Loses Iowa Supporters Over His Pro-Abortion Position

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 22, 2006


Des Moines, IA ( -- New York Governor George Pataki, a possible 2008 presidential candidate, has lost two key supporters due to his position in favor of abortion. The Iowa political activists say they will no longer serve as advisors to his political action committee because Pataki backs abortion.

Loras Schulte and Ed Failor have been advisors to Pataki's 21st Century Freedom PAC -- the kind of political action committee that most potential presidential candidates establish to promote themselves and their ideas.

Schulte told the Des Moines Register newspaper she supported the group because of other political issues but with Pataki leaning towards a presidential bid -- he's now visited Iowa eight times since the 2004 elections -- she felt it was time to step down from her position.

"I've never made any secret of my intense pro-life views," Schulte said. "In order to be true to myself, where I stood and what I believed, it was time to step away."

Failor, a board member for Iowa Right to Life, said he agreed with Pataki's position that state's should decide abortion, rather than the Supreme Court, but disagreed with Pataki that state's should keep abortion legal.

"That message, articulated appropriately, is not an anti-pro-life message," he said of the state's rights position.

Pataki has upset pro-life advocates numerous times during his tenure as New York governor.

In July, Pataki vetoed a bill that would have authorized a group of new specialty license plates there, including one commemorating the September 11 terrorist attacks. The governor blamed the veto on a lawsuit supporters of the Choose Life license plate filed after they were denied a specialty plate.

Last May, Pataki said he supported a bill in the legislature requiring taxpayers to spend $100 million annually on embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of human life.

He also signed legislation requiring hospitals -- including religious ones -- to distribute the morning after pill and signed another bill requiring health insurance plans to do the same thing.

Pataki plans to make his decision about whether to run for president in the coming months but has already opened up another Iowa office, leading many to think the decision is a forgone conclusion.

Published: November 28, 2006 01:43 pm            

CONFER: Pataki not presidential material

The Tonawanda News

The curtain may be closing on George Pataki’s reign as governor of the Empire State, but rest assured this is not the last that we will see of him. He has greater aspirations, his sights set on becoming president of the United States. Pataki has been pursuing this dream for quite some time and has made his intentions known, sometimes rather discreetly and other times quite boldly.

Throughout his last term he had dropped numerous hints, none subtler than January’s state of the state address. Rather than being the typical gubernatorial where-we-have-been and where-we-are-going harangue, his speech was by no means specific to New York. It was, instead, as if his speech was directed at a national audience.

As subliminal as his message may have been at the time, a recent development was the complete opposite. Pataki made a very clear statement when, in September, he became the first politician to open a campaign office in Iowa in preparation for the 2008 presidential campaign.

To the uninitiated, Pataki’s machinations might have some effect. But, those who have lived under Pataki rule know too well that Pataki brings nothing to the table in terms of presidential value. His track record has shown that he does not possesses any of the leadership traits, economic knowledge, and understanding of governance required by one who would theoretically be the most powerful man in the world.

The most important requirement of being a great president is the ability to exercise the qualities of highly effective leadership. History has shown that the US has struggled and national pride has waned under presidents who have been lacking in these skills. Pataki would only continue to prove such history. While as governor he has been an extremely poor leader, far too soft-spoken and reclusive, rarely seen or heard. He has been more or less a shut-in protected by his circle of advisors and those who speak for him.

This lack of a compelling presence and ability to connect with people is best exemplified by what occurred around Sept. 11, 2001. Pataki offered only token appearances and said little amidst and after the chaos. While a few politicians — George W Bush, Rudy Giuliani, and Hillary Clinton — shined in the chaos, offering comfort and support to hurt and scared New Yorkers, Pataki was either nowhere to be found or hidden in the background as a face, nothing more and nothing less. Pataki did not lead in that defining moment when his people needed him the most.

He definitely did not lead in the day-to-day of governorship. He teamed with Joe Bruno and Sheldon Silver to make a devious three-headed monster that controlled the senate and assembly and catered-to and worsened the big government mentality that is so pervasive in New York.

Pataki’s tax-heavy regime and lack of attention to making New York business-friendly (especially towards the globally competitive manufacturing sector) has slowly but surely killed the state’s economy. Good-paying, long-term blue-collar jobs are difficult to find in upstate as countless thousands of firms have either shrunk or closed their doors due to the state’s costly business environment. This has led to a mass exodus of residents out of New York.

Basically, the once mighty Empire State has floundered pitifully under Pataki’s watch. Despite his aspirations and self-promotion, his actions — or lack thereof — have proved time and time again that he is not the sort of man who could adequately lead our nation. Simply put, Pataki is not presidential material. Let us hope that the rest of America recognizes this fact well before 2008.

Bob Confer is a Gasport resident and vice president of Confer Plastics Inc. in North Tonawanda.

New York Governor says he is not running for White House `yet`  Cambridge, Nov 15: New York Governor George Pataki has said he is not running for anything "yet," but he would not say whether he would form a presidential explorator committee, as fellow New Yorker Rudy Giuliani did this week.

Pataki, whose decision not to seek a fourth term has stoked speculation about a White House bid, took questions from students after a speech at Harvard University's John F Kennedy School of Government.

He was asked if Giuliani would make a strong candidate and whether there is room in the race for two moderate Republicans from New York.

"Anyone who has governed successfully in this era should be looked at positively," Pataki said. "There's plenty of room in the Republican Party for people across the spectrum who share our core philosophies."

Pataki said he'll make a decision about an exploratory committee after his term expires in seven weeks.

The Governor said Democrats took control of the Senate and House on November 7 because "they tried to appear as the uniters."

"Republicans didn't have an optimistic vision," he said in his speech. Democrats "came across as the party that was broadminded and more inclusive. The Republicans came across as the party that was looking again to polarise."

New Yorkers elected Democrat Eliot Spitzer as the state's new Governor on election day.

Arizona Senator John McCan on Sunday said he was taking the initial step of setting up an exploratory committee. The Republican field is expected to grow with other presidential hopefuls, among them Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Bureau Report

Pataki Says He’ll Decide on 2008 Race in Early ’07

Published: December 11, 2006
After leading four former Republican governors on a tour of ground zero, Gov. George E. Pataki said yesterday that he would soon announce whether he would run for president in 2008.

“I’m going to make a decision sometime early next year,” said Mr. Pataki, who is viewed in Republican circles as a long shot for the party’s nomination, but is nonetheless working to raise his national profile and play a role in one of several efforts to redefine the party.

A few hours later, another possible Republican candidate for president, Senator John McCain of Arizona, spoke at a Yeshiva University dinner in Manhattan. He devoted much of his speech to Israel’s security.

Even before the Republicans lost six governorships and their majority in the House and Senate last month, Mr. Pataki had the idea of meeting with some of the governors who were in office when he was first elected 12 years ago to discuss the party’s strategy for 2008, his spokesman, David Catalfamo, said.

Yesterday, several of these governors had their first gathering in New York to talk politics and get a glimpse of the construction projects at ground zero. It was an interesting roster, given the four states’ roles in the presidential race.

There were Don Sundquist of Tennessee and David Beasley of South Carolina, states where evangelical Christians make up sizable percentages of the Republican electorate; Terry E. Branstad of Iowa, which holds the nation’s first caucuses; and William F. Weld of Massachusetts, whose departing governor, Mitt Romney, could rival Mr. Pataki for the 2008 nomination.

“I think there’s a lot of people out there, all across the spectrum, but particularly in the Republican Party, that’s looking for leadership that could bring the Republican Party and take it into a new direction,” Mr. Beasley said.

“Would I like to see him run for president?” he asked of Mr. Pataki. “Oh, yes, I’d love to see him run for president.”

After the tour of ground zero, Mr. Pataki took the ex-governors to a show, “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

Meanwhile, before a largely Jewish audience at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel last night, Senator McCain criticized the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying he could pose “an existential threat” to Israel.

“When the president of Iran calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, or asks for a world without Zionism, or suggests that Israel’s population return to Europe, or calls the Holocaust a myth, we are dealing with a possibly deranged and surely dangerous regime,” Mr. McCain said in a keynote address to the Yeshiva University Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation.

Another threat to Israel’s security, Mr. McCain said, was what he called the “terrorist syndicate that has won elections among a population desperate for change” in the Palestinian territories.

The annual Yeshiva dinner traditionally has a keynote address by a prominent official. Last year Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke.