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Love, of a sort, is in the air in Albany

Day One for Gov. David Paterson was all about hugs, high-fives and wishes of luck.

  Day Two begins the real test: Can this goodwill stretch into the negotiations between his new administration and the Legislature over the 2008 state budget, which is due March 31.

   With the backdrop of a souring national economy and falling revenues for the state government, Paterson yesterday asked lawmakers to re-think their spending plans -- a move taken in some circles as a request to lower spending targets. That could set off a whole new round of gridlock if special interests are able to persuade the Legislature to buck Paterson --  that is, if his goal is really to reduce the rate of spending increase below the 5.1 percent former Gov. Eliot Spitzer proposed in January.

   As fiscal talks get under way today, sex is still on the minds of people in Albany. It was only a week ago that Spitzer was revealed to be a patron in a high-priced prostitution ring.

   On Day Two, it was revealed -- by Paterson himself -- that he, too, had extramarital liaisons, but with a girlfriend not a prostitute.

   In an interview with a columnist for the New York Daily News, Paterson said a troubled period during his marriage several years ago included him having a girlfriend. The column quotes Michelle Paterson as knowing about the affair. 

   Paterson suggested he came forward now to extinguish the many rumors in Albany about whether he has been faithful to his wife. Paterson said the affair lasted from about 1999 to 2001. He also denied what he called a "sporadic rumor" that he had a "love child" with a woman other than his wife.

   And so goes another day in Albany.

-- Tom Precious

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