Former New York Governor George Paraki and New York Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox held a conference call with reporters this morning ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering. Mr. Pataki claimed his emphasis on lower tax rates and de-regulation led to the creation of the school while President Obama’s policies have failed at spurring private sector development.
Though Messrs. Pataki and Cox focused on criticizing the president’s economic policies, they were also asked by Buzzfeed’s Zeke Miller about the uproar over Vice President Joe Biden’s comments in support of same sex marriage yesterday and the lingering questions about where President Obama stands on the issue.
“I think it’s pretty simple, either you’re for something, or you’re against it and Vice President Biden has made it plain he’s for it. President Obama, on the other hand, is looking to have both sides where he’s appealing to those who are supportive of gay marriage, but is afraid to alienate those who don’t.”
Mr. Pataki, who briefly flirted with running for president this year, said the situation reminded him of the incident last March when President Obama was overheard on a microphone telling then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev he’d have “more flexibility” to deal with contentious foreign policy issues after the election.
“If you ask me, his position is a lot like what he said to former Russian President Medvedev at the open mic in Europe where he said, ‘Just wait till after the election, I’ll have a lot more flexibility then.’ Well, I think the American peiople deserve to know today where President Obama stands today and where he will stand next year on this issue.”
Mr. Pataki mixed up his Russian politics a bit. Back in March, Mr, Medvedev was Russia’s president and Vladimir Putin was prime minister. Yesterday, Mr. Putin became president again and tapped Mr. Medvedev to be prime minister. It’s easy to see how Mr. Pataki would be confused.
Though they were eager to hit President Obama on gay marriage, neither Mr. Cox or Mr. Pataki wanted to discuss the other social issue that has defined this race–abortion. Mr. Pataki has supported abortion rights, a stance which contributed to the dissolution of his 2008 presidential campaign. He changed the subject when The Politicker asked whether he thought the Republican Party’s opposition to abortion could hurt their chances of taking back the White House and establishing a supermajority in Congress.
“The American people are focused on jobs and the economy,” Mr. Pataki said. “Mitt Romney is focused on jobs, he’s focused on an opportunity society of free people and free enterprise. That’s what he stands for. He’s going to be elected President of the United States.”