Paterson’s came during an appearance on “The Mike Huckabee Show,” a radio program hosted by the former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate.

Paterson made reference to his own experience as a radio host following his departure from office in 2010.

“I would not describe myself as a conservative, but I really had a lot of respect for my listeners. Many of them were Tea Party supporters,” said Paterson. “They were concerned about the economy, they were concerned about overspending in government, they were concerned about government intrusion ... they were concerned about the opportunity to get a job.”

“I don’t find that to be particularly strident,” he said.

Paterson said the Tea Party has “had some nutty people come under their banner and do things,” but says that’s simply a natural outcome of the movement being an outside force in American politics.

“Whenever you have a group where the political view is a little bit on the extreme ... you’re going to have some individuals who speak on behalf of the party who don’t really represent what the party represents, who may be bigoted.”