Paterson says he'll step aside only 'in a box'

(AP) - New York Gov. David Paterson, defying calls from even fellow Democrats to drop out of the race for a full term, said Tuesday that he would leave only if the voters turned him out through the ballot box, or "in a box."

Paterson spoke to reporters after several days of rumors sweeping the state Capitol about carousing in the governor's mansion, all of which Paterson strongly denied.

A few months after Paterson took over from his predecessor, who resigned in a prostitution scandal, his popularity plummeted and many Democrats voiced their preference that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo run for governor when Paterson's term is up.

Paterson appeared to take heart from an interview earlier in the day with The New York Times, which had been widely anticipated to be preparing a story dealing with his personal conduct. He said that in the interview he was not asked about drug use in the governor's mansion or partying with women.

"The only way I'm not going to be governor next year is at the ballot box, and the only way that I will be leaving the office before is in a box," Paterson said during a news conference.

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