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   For Native Sons, Less Favor at Home

NEWS INFORMATION

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News Date

7/31/2005 12:00 pm

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Media

New York Times

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Analysis

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Entered 7/31/2005, Updated 7/31/2005

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If some Empire State households were skeptical of the notion of Mr. Pataki as presidential material, it's worth remembering the disbelief among some Arkansans that Bill Clinton had the right stuff to win the White House. Some Californians doubted that Ronald Reagan, their movie star ex-governor, would ever succeed on the national stage. But it was perhaps a peanut farmer from Georgia who best proved the axiom that native sons get no respect, when an Atlanta newspaper editor wrote a column under the headline "Jimmy Carter's Running for What?" "Governor Jimmy Carter's timing was just right," the column read, according to the 1976 book "Jimmy Who?" by Leslie Wheeler. "The state needed a good belly laugh, and Carter obliged by announcing he would run for president." If some local Republicans were cheering on the governor last week, and others were rolling their eyes at the notion of a President Pataki, many responded with a shrug: Most politicians think they should be president, so why be surprised that the governor of a large state for 10½ years would act any differently? Especially one who has been known to say, half-jokingly, that he benefits from low expectations? "Politicians from small states need favored-son status the most to help them move along, while most governors from New York are on the list for potential presidents: ask Cuomo, Rockefeller, Dewey and maybe Pataki," said United States Representative Thomas M. Reynolds, a Republican ally of the governor's. "But it can be tough going at home. Sometimes the political establishment is toughest on the ones they know best."


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