Paterson talks budget as storm swirls

(AP) - Gov. David Paterson was adamantly in thebusiness of governing Monday, taking questions from the public at atown hall meeting and trying to make clear his authority tonegotiate a state budget amid two scandals that threaten his job.

"Recently, I've been the target of rumors and innuendo, but ithasn't stopped me," he said in his opening remarks, one of the fewreferences to the situation swirling around him.

In their questions, audience members at the session in Brooklynwere clearly more focused on their own concerns rather than thegovernor's, who is being probed over whether he illegally hadcontact with a woman who had accused a Paterson aide of abuse. Heis also facing an ethics charge for obtaining free World Seriestickets.

Few questioners mentioned the scandals, with one offeringsupport for Paterson finishing his term before going on to ask aquestion on another topic.

The reaction matched findings in a poll from Siena Collegereleased Monday. Although Paterson has slipped to his lowestapproval rating yet, at 21 percent, 71 percent of voters questionedwant him to finish in term. Twenty-one percent want the Legislatureto impeach him if he doesn't resign, although Paterson hasn't beencharged with a crime.

Paterson has already given up his bid for a full term butrefused to give in to critics who want him to resign altogether. Hebecame governor in 2008 after his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer,resigned in a prostitution scandal.

To see extended footage from the town hall meeting, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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