Former New York Gov. George Pataki tells Newsmax that President Barack Obama cannot run on his record and will instead try to “dump” on his presumptive White House opponent Mitt Romney — but will fail in his re-election bid.
The veteran Republican politician, who was governor on Sept. 11, 2001, also says the administration’s initial decision to try 9/11 terrorists in civilian courts in Manhattan “was one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard.”
Pataki was elected governor in 1994, defeating three-term Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo, and was re-elected in 1998 and 2002. He previously served in the New York State Senate and House, and recently established a super PAC, Tipping Point, to help Republican congressional candidates in New York.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Pataki — who had reservations about supporting Romney — explained why he has now decided to strongly endorse the former Massachusetts governor.
“Gov. Romney has shown, No. 1, his ability to win,” Pataki says. “Two, he has become a far better candidate relating to people, dealing with debate issues, and he has supported things like deficit reduction along the lines of what the House is doing.
“He still has a lot of work to do. We know that this president and his Chicago operatives are going to have a billion dollars to try to dump on his head because I don’t think this president can get re-elected by saying I passed Obamacare, I created these massive deficits, I passed Dodd-Frank, which is driving businesses out of the country.
“He has nothing in his record he can point to, so he’s going to do everything he can to try to disqualify Gov. Romney. I don’t think he’s going to succeed. Gov. Romney is ready for it and will win this race.”
Pataki discussed his Tipping Point super PAC and the importance of the congressional races in New York.
“The House Republicans have been the only legislative or executive body over the past two years that has had the courage to stand up and be counted as to what has to be done. The Senate now hasn’t even tried to pass a budget, and Obama’s budget was a joke,” he says. “I am worried about the House races. In New York in 2010 we won six seats from the Democrats. This is a difficult state and we have new lines after reapportionment, and I think as many as 10 to 12 House races in New York could swing between parties during this election. That could determine whether or not the Republicans continue to control the House or not.
“I’m going to do my best to try to make sure that Speaker [John] Boehner and [Majority] Leader [Eric] Cantor are still in those roles in 2013.”
But Pataki criticized the ability of super PACs to finance campaigns in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. “I think it’s an awful system,” he declares. “It is, as is often the case, an unintended consequence of good-government groups saying you can’t give more than $2,500 to a candidate because somehow you’ll corrupt him. You can give millions, tens of millions to a PAC that supports that candidate. It’s absurd. What has happened is the candidates have lost control of their campaigns.
“Last time Obama had hundreds of millions of dollars in soft money from groups. This time it is important that there be a fairer playing field. I don’t think we will have nearly the resources that Obama and his team will have, but we have to do our best to try to match as much as we can with dollars and then beat them in ideas, because that’s where we always beat them.”
Pataki also expressed his view on the 9/11 terrorists on trial in Guantanamo Bay, who have been acting strangely and showing an unwillingness to participate in the proceedings.
“I think it’s appalling, and I think it’s appalling that we tolerate it,” he says. “Just think for a minute: President Obama and [Attorney General Eric] Holder wanted to hold civilian trials in Lower Manhattan right next to ground zero. That was one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard in my life. [The terrorists] would have had cameras and media and demonstrations and tried to portray themselves as victims instead of the barbaric mass murderers they really are.
“Let the military tribunal go forward. Do not apologize for the information we obtained from those mass murderers, and convict them.”
Pataki credits Richard Mourdock’s victory over six-term Sen. Richard Lugar in Indiana’s GOP primary on Tuesday to Lugar’s long tenure in the Senate.
“You know, 36 years in the U.S. Senate! Our elected officials are supposed to be citizen politicians who take some time off and go off and serve the public. What happens is they get elected and get captured by the system.
“So I think it was a very clear message. Congress is not liked by the American people. There is this sense that it is Washington against the rest of us, and I think it’s an accurate sense. The time had come for someone who wasn’t a Washington insider to bring a fresh perspective to the Senate.”
Pataki tells Newsmax that Republicans “missed an opportunity” to support Bowles-Simpson, the bipartisan commission created by Obama and charged with devising a strategy for reducing the deficit. It issued a report in December 2010 but the president failed to embrace its proposals and the report was voted down by commission members.
“Why Republicans haven’t embraced a modified Bowles-Simpson to me is kind of confusing because I think it works economically,” he says. “It precludes Obama’s class warfare demonizing.
“I would hope, particularly if Gov. Romney wins, we could see something along those lines.”
He was asked if the proposal could be resurrected between the November election and the beginning of the next presidential term in January. “I think it could, except that this president is such an ideologue. That’s why he threw it in the garbage the minute it came in,” Pataki responds.
“He had three Democratic senators vote yes for this report and he threw it away because it doesn’t suit his ideological goal, which is to redistribute money by taking from the productive sector and giving it to his less- productive constituents.”
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