Trying to Read the Tea Leaves: A Look at Filling Clinton's NY Senate Seat

Gov. David Paterson, the keyholder to the coveted Senate seat in New York, returned on Christmas Eve from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan with a potential filler of that vacancy.

Rep. Steve Israel accompanied Paterson and fellow Rep. Anthony Weiner at a press conference in the halls of LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday. The topic was the trio's trip to the two war zones -- an educational and important venture, Paterson said, that was appropriate for the holiday season.

But Israel's three-day-long private audience with the governor has spurred speculation that he could eventually be asked to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate. As has news that the Long Island congressman hired a former Clinton aide to assist him in winning Paterson's support.

The Senate vacancy was addressed during the question-and-answer session in the airport terminal, much to Paterson's chagrin. The governor insisted that he and Israel did not talk about the seat while on the trip.

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