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Former NY Governor George Pataki Discusses Potential Presidential Plans And Other Issues

WAMC/Pat Bradley

Former Governor George Pataki was in Essex Tuesday to talk to educators from across the globe.  Before his presentation, he spoke with reporters, including WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley, about his presidential aspirations and other state issues.
The Republican served three and has flirted with a possible run for the president in the past. He has traveled to campaign hotspots already and is mulling a possible 2016 campaign for the White House.   “I’m leaning more towards doing it. I look at the future of the country and I think we need the right leadership and leadership that’s able to not just win an election, but once you have, manage and change a large, complex government. That’s what I tried to do in New York and I know that if I had the opportunity I could do that in Washington.  I think the American people realize that we need to reduce the size and the intrusiveness of Washington and give people confidence in the future.”

Pataki says he has no timeframe for making a decision, but rather is gauging public support.    “The need for change is the greatest I’ve seen in my lifetime. The change has to be in Washington. It should be one of the most optimistic times ever in the history of the country and yet because of government people are wondering about the future. I want to take away that wonder and give them that sense of optimism.”

Out of office since 2006, Pataki says he wants to see his fellow GOP candidates focused on national security and the national economy. As for Democrat Hillary Clinton, Pataki recalls he worked well with her when she a New York U.S. senator.   “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 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 have that ability to reach beyond simply the Republican base and win an election against someone like Senator Clinton.”

The current ethics crisis in Albany is another disappointment for the former governor, who says he’s pleased to see aggressive prosecutors reviewing activities in the capitol.   “It just reflects very poorly on the culture in Albany today. It’s just been one indictment after another since I’ve left. You know you take pride in your leadership skills but you don’t succeed unless you have good people around you and I had people with tremendous integrity. We left with the state in very good condition and I think the image of our state government was certainly far better than it is today sadly.”

Current Governor Andrew Cuomo just returned from a trade mission to Cuba. His predecessor is not pleased that the island nation is being removed from the list of terrorist states and Pataki, who said twice he isn’t out to criticize Cuomo, is less than impressed with the trade trip.   “I went to Cuba a few years ago as part of a mission and I was appalled to be perfectly honest. It was just tragic to see how the party leadership was unconcerned about the interests of the people. So I don’t believe I would have been as interested in pursuing trade with a Marxist-Stalinist state without them reforming significantly.”

Tune in for an extended conversation with Pataki on Midday Magazine and wamc.org this weekend.

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