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NY1 Campaign Interview: George Pataki

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The governor's race is well underway, and over the next few weeks, NY1 will be spending a lot of time out on the stump talking with the candidates. Wednesday, NY1's Dominic Carter sat down with Gov. George Pataki. Below is a portion of his interview. Click on the above Real Video link to see the whole story.

NY1: As far as just a few weeks ago, you were considered untouchable, had a huge lead in the polls. Overnight, even before the primary, McCall cuts your lead to 15 percent. Are you concerned he's gaining momentum?

GP: We're always going to have competitive elections in New York and that's the way it should be. I've never, from my first day in office until today, allowed the policies or decisions I've made to be affected by the polls. You have to do what you think is right for the people of New York. I think our policies in the last seven and a half years have been right for the people of New York. This is a stronger state, a more unified state, a better state.

NY1: What’s the difference between George Pataki and Carl McCall?

GP: I think, if you take a look, I've been the leader of this state. I've been the leader of this state in good times and tough times. I've had to make the tough decisions. We've had a $$5 billion deficit in 1995. There was no reason. There was no national economic decline or no September 11 crisis. But we brought the state through crisis then. We are facing another economic tough time. We're in it right now, between the national recession and the impact September 11 has had on New York City and New York State. But I've been there, made the tough decisions, provided the leadership, and I'm confident I can continue to do that and I hope the people give me that opportunity.

NY1: Will your campaign portray Mr. McCall as too liberal for New York State?

GP: I think the campaign will discuss the issues, the philosophy and policies I believe in and the vision I have for the future and how they may contrast with those of other candidates in the race.”

NY1 Tell me one difference between yourself and Mr. McCall?

GP: I think executive experience is one. Take a look at having run this state in one of the most difficult times. I also think if you look back at what we have done, I have done, the vision, the philosophy, the empowerment I have put in place, I'm proud of that and I'm not so sure, that among all the difference candidates in the race, that a number of them share that vision.

NY1: We haven't really heard any new proposals from you. What do you plan on doing in the next four years that you haven't already done in the past eight?

GP: We have to make the promise of education reform a reality. We just passed the law giving the mayor control here in the city and I want to see us have accountability and reform across the state in education. The most single important factor is to have great teachers in the classroom. We're going to convert Governor’s Island into a world class urban teaching center as part of the City University. We'll be able to produce thousands of excellent, motivated teachers for the city schools of New York.”

NY1: It is almost remarkable, in your eight-year run you haven't had a single debate. Will you debate Mr. McCall?

GP: Absolutely. Yes, yes.

NY1: Will you debate Mr. Golisano?

GP: Certainly, I intend and expect we're going to have vigorous debates during the course of the campaign. I think it's appropriate. I think it's a part of the American process. The exact nature of how those are worked out will be determined by the campaigns, but I'm looking forward to the debates and I hope, in fact, that we get a lot of people on New York 1, watching those debates, because I’m proud of my record, proud of my vision, proud of where we're going to lead this state.

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