Steele ‘curious’ that W.H. asks black governor to not seek reelection

Michael Steele said it was “curious” on why the White House would ask New York Gov. David Paterson (D) not to run for reelection in 2010.

“I found that to be stunning, that the White House would send word to one of only two black governors in the country not to run for reelection,” Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), said on CBS’s Face The Nation.

Steele was commenting on a report in The New York Times that said an intermediary of President Barack Obama sent word to Paterson that he should not run, considering his low approval ratings. Asked by host Bob Schieffer if race played a role in the White House’s decision to ask Paterson to back off from campaigning, Steele said he didn’t think so.

“It raises a curious point for me. I think Gov. Paterson’s numbers are about the same as Gov. Corzine’s. The president is with Gov. Corzine,” Steele said. The RNC chairman was referring to Gov. Jon Corzine, the Democratic New Jersey governor who is facing a tough reelection bid this year.

Steele also said he would be interested in black leaders’ response to the White House request.

“That will be very interesting to see what the response by black leadership around the country for the president calling Gov. Paterson to step down,” Steele said.

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