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New York Governor admits drug use

New York Governor David Paterson, who assumed office last week after his predecessor Eliot Spitzer quit over a prostitution scandal, admitted to dabbling with illegal drugs.

world Updated: Mar 25, 2008 20:59 IST

New York Governor David Paterson, who assumed office last week after his predecessor Eliot Spitzer quit over a prostitution scandal, admitted to dabbling with illegal drugs.

Paterson, a blind African-American who was sworn in on March 17, supposedly with the squeaky-clean image needed to "clean up" state politics, told NY1 television on Monday that he had not used both marijuana and cocaine since 1970s.

"I'd say I was about 22-23. I tried it a few times, yes," Paterson, now 53, said of his cocaine use.

Paterson's political honeymoon came to a swift end just hours into his term when both he and his wife admitted last week to having had extra-marital affairs.

Speaking of his years long separation from his wife, Paterson told NY1, "I feel badly about the situation, but I don't feel badly about speaking out about it. I thought that's what the public asked elected officials to do."
"I have tried to be open and transparent in the way that the public would ask," he said.

His admissions seem unlikely to derail his political career as for example, former president Bill Clinton admitted to drug use before he took office and to an extra-marital affair while in the White House.
Paterson's predecessor, Spitzer, resigned on March 12, just two days after reports first emerged that he had used a high-end prostitution ring.