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Pataki Weighs In On Clinton Campaign, Cuomo Cuba Trip, Ethics

Courtesy of Christopher Peterson

Former three-term New York Governor George Pataki, a Republican who is considering a run for president, spoke with reporters including WAMC's Pat Bradley at a conference in Essex Tuesday afternoon. Here are some highlights:

On Hillary Clinton:

"You know, it’s easy to take political shots and I certainly have a very different philosophy than Secretary Clinton, but when she was a Senator, we worked well together. We sat down, thought what was in the interest of the future and the people of New York state and tried to work together to accomplish that. I’m extremely disappointed in her career as Secretary of State. I think it’s just been a disaster, really, for the American people, but ultimately, you know, I think the Republicans can’t just attack her, they have to have a positive vision, a message that connects not just with Republicans and independents but with some Democrats. Certainly in New York, I had to get a million Democrats to win by one vote and I believe I had that ability to reach beyond simply the Republican base and win a race against someone like Senator Clinton."

On ethics in Albany:

"I’m just extremely disappointed. There are a lot of good people in Albany but there are also quite clearly many who used it for their personal advantage and they should be held accountable. I think it just reflects very poorly on the culture in Albany today, I think it reflects poorly on New York state politics, and it’s extremely disappointing to me. It’s just been one indictment after another since I’ve left, and I just believe it’s the right thing to have aggressive prosecutors looking  to make sure that our public representatives in fact are putting the public interest as the only interest, and sadly, in too many cases, that hasn’t been the case."

"You know, it was very, very difficult dealing with the legislature and getting the changes we needed to have made made, and it turns out in retrospect, certainly in the case of the Speaker, according to the U.S. prosecutor, it wasn’t simply philosophy, it was also self-interest and financial, and that’s extremely disappointing. But ultimately if you’re the leader of a state like New York, you simply have to do everything in your power to overcome those barriers and hope that we have the prosecutorial intelligence and aggressiveness to hold people who do break the laws accountable."

On Gov. Cuomo's trip to Cuba:

"I’m not going to criticize Governor Cuomo; I went to Cuba a few years ago as part of a mission and I was appalled, to be perfectly honest. It wasn’t — I’ve been to China, I’ve been to the Soviet Union, I’ve been to other states that were Marxist. Cuba wasn’t Marxist, it was Stalinist, and it was just tragic to see how the party leadership was just so unconcerned about the interests of the people, so it’s disappointing to me that Cuba without having changed that totalitarian Stalinist leadership is now by the United States being taken off the list of terrorist states."

"I’m not going to criticize the governor, I don’t believe that I would have been as interested in pursuing trade with a Marxist, Stalinist state without them reforming significantly."

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