New York Gov. David Paterson is shooting down talk that his resignation is imminent, calling "outrageous rumors" about his alleged womanizing and drug use a "callous and sleazy" assault on his character.
The Democratic governor told The Associated Press that the political and media scrutiny he's facing won't stop him from seeking election in the fall.
"For the last couple of weeks I have been the subject of what, even by Albany standards, has been a spate of outrageous rumors about me," Paterson told the AP. He said he is unsure who pushed the rumors and wouldn't speculate, saying "that would be just as unfair ... but it is certainly serving others' interest and not mine, and I think it's a callous and sleazy way to treat a governor who is just trying to do his job and, in a democracy, is trying to keep his job."
Paterson said he's done nothing to "deserve this kind of bashing."
Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch told The New York Daily News he has not discussed a possible succession with anybody's in the governor's inner circle.
"I don't believe there's any truth to any of this," Ravitch said.
Paterson cited as fabricated a Jan. 30 New York Post report that he was caught by state police in the mansion with a woman other than his wife. He said the room in which he was reportedly caught doesn't even exist, though the Post stands by its reporting.
The rumors about Paterson's personal conduct have been circulating in Albany -- and sometimes appearing online and in newspaper reports -- at a crucial moment in the governor's career. His popularity has fallen precipitously, but he has vowed to run for election, even though many Democrats would prefer state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo run in his place.
In his interview with the AP, Paterson denied all sexual relationships and drug use that are among the accusations.
He said the rumors had been stirred up by an as-yet unpublished New York Times investigation "that spawned a bunch of speculations that are so way out that it's shocking," he said.
The New York Post suggested in an article published Monday that the "paranoid" governor is going "ballistic" at aides over what is considered a "corrupt decision" to award licensing for thousands of video lottery machines to a group that includes the Rev. Floyd Flake of Queens, whose endorsement Paterson is aggressively seeking as he runs for a full term.
"He's become paranoid. He sits gnashing his teeth, looking around for scapegoats among the people around him," the Post reported a source saying. "He's lecturing them, launching into tirades, and he's demoralized the entire staff in the process."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.