President Obama has told New York Gov. David Paterson not to run in next year's gubernatorial election, reports the New York Times. Obama's fear is that the unpopular Democrat could give otherwise listless Republicans incentive to storm the polls, sources say. That would be doubly true if former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani runs, they warn.
Voters gave Paterson—the former lieutenant governor who replaced Gov. Eliot Spitzer after his prostitution scandal—a mere 30% approval rating recently. The numbers are so bad they could even hurt support for the state's congressional Democrats. The first black president telling one of the nation's two black governors to back off clears racial landmines for potential candidate Andrew Cuomo. Paterson was reportedly "resistant" to Obama's advice. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)