In all of the media coverage about incoming Gov. David Paterson, this observation from a Times-Union profile caught my eye:
According to lawmakers, lobbyists and others who have worked with him, Paterson can’t read small print or long passages. Perhaps to compensate, he has developed a prodigious memory. People who first meet him sometimes marvel at his ability to mentally retrieve a phone number or recite details of legislation. He can memorize speeches and has been known to cite passages from complex Russian novels like Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” to drive home a political point.
Paterson has degrees from Columbia University and Hofstra Law School, and he worked for the Queens district attorney’s office before being elected to the Senate in 1985. But his lack of sight prevented him from passing the bar exam, and he’s spoken of the need to improve test accommodations for the blind. Now he’ll have another test to grapple with, although it’s more about style than substance: the annual State of the State Message the governor traditionally gives in January, which historically has run as much as an hour or more.
If anything, at least we’ll get a governor who probably won’t be relying on speechwriters.