Paterson: 'I'm being realistic about politics,' confirms he won't run

New York Gov. David Paterson (D) confirmed in a press conference Friday that he won't run for a full term in November.

"I am being realistic about politics," he said. "Today I am announcing that I am ending my campaign for governor of the state of New York."

Paterson said he welcomed the pending investigation into his conduct as governor. "I have never abused my office, not now, not ever," he said.

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He also defended his record in the state's top job.

"But no matter how difficult the circumstances were, I have never forgotten my oath, nor my responsibility to serve the people of New York with faith and with integrity," Paterson said.

He hinted that the recent New York Times reports were causing him to abandon his campaign.

"Up until the last few days, I was looking forward to participating in that work in a full four-year term," he said, noting the situation had become untenable.

"It hasn't been the latest distraction; it's been an accumulation of obstacles that have obfuscated me from bringing my message to the public. Therefore, there are times in politics when you have to know not to strive for service but to step back," the Democrat said.

Paterson promised to serve out the remainder of his term.

"Right now, New York state needs a leader who can devote full time to this service," he said. "There are 308 days left in my term I will serve every one of them fighting for the people of the state of New York."

Former Rep. Rick Lazio, the expected GOP gubernatorial nominee, called Paterson's announcement "another sad chapter in New York State government."

"It's dysfunctional, it's broken and it doesn't work. It's exactly why we need someone not tied to the Albany culture to bring the sweeping change we deserve," he said in a statement.

Updated at 3:52 p.m.