Sources Conflict on Gov. Paterson Crisis Strategy

According to a source familiar with New York Governor David Paterson’s administration, there is no communications strategy, and he relies too much on his own flawed judgment — and that of his personal advisers David Johnson and Clemmie Harris — over his professional communications staff (see The New York Observer for more on Johnson and Harris).

As the media and voters await the supposed bombshell profile in The New York Times that is said to force the resignation of embattled Governor, his communications staff is hitting back against allegations of extramarital affairs and influence peddling, or at least it appears there’s a coordinated effort.

However, a source with inside knowledge of the administration tells PRNewser all is lost at this point, and that there is no coordinated damage control effort:

“His comm ‘strategy’ is mainly a product of himself. He disregards his staff and listens to outside friends (and those 2 close advisors’) voices, but mostly he listens to the one that’s loudest in his head: his own. His senior staff think he is nailing his own coffin and are embarrassed by these latest bizarre interviews.

The Times story is still running. At this point, many feel it doesn’t even matter what’s in it. He is cooked.

Despite this, it appears the Paterson camp planned their approach carefully over the past few days, with a statement from Communications Director Peter Kauffmann denying wrongdoing in a contract bid, sending a letter to Public Editor Clark Hoyt at The New York Times asking for the paper to acknowledge the falsehoods bandied about are not within the alleged profile, and finally, an appearance by the Governor on Larry King Live last night.

Another source close to the administration walked PRNewser through the time-line of how the news spun out since last week, and the Governor’s response at each phase. According to the source, the “unsubstantiated rumors reached a crescendo” once the AP gave credence by covering the rumors on Sunday night, prompting a feeding frenzy in the tabloids on Monday. Apparently, BusinessInsider and other blogs fueling the fire last Friday and throughout the weekend did not call for comment.

Paterson called a press conference Tuesday afternoon, and mentioned the letter to Clark Hoyt, then used an appearance on Don Imus’ show — already on his schedule for weeks — in an attempt to dispel the rumors the next morning.

The administration believes the Danny Hakim Times profile in question will now run this Sunday.