NY Swears In New Gov; Paterson Calls for Unity

New head of state is funny but also solemn
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2008 2:00 PM CDT
New York Lt. Gov. David Paterson arrives at a news conference at the state Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Thursday, March 13, 2008. Paterson replaced Eliot Spitzer as governor today.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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(Newser) – David Paterson was sworn in as New York’s governor this afternoon and gave a speech that mixed humor and solemnity, the Albany Times-Union reports. “I never expected to have the honor of serving as governor,” said New York’s first black governor, who repeatedly stressed the importance of bringing political parties together.

Scandal-plagued predecessor Eliot Spitzer leaves not only a house divided, but a $5 billion state budget deficit and a host of unfinished initiatives. An enthusiastic crowd in the Assembly chamber in Albany jumped the gun, bursting into cheers before Paterson competed the oath of office. The chief judge of the state's highest court countered, "Not yet," and the new governor drew more applause after he really finished, the New York Times reports.