Spitzer's Replacement Begins Term With Affair Disclosure

ALBANY, New York -- Just hours after he received a standing ovation from lawmakers chanting his name, New York's newly sworn governor was answering questions about straying from his own marriage.

David Paterson became the state's first black chief executive and the second legally blind governor in U.S. history almost exactly a week after allegations first surfaced that now-former Governor Eliot Spitzer was "Client 9" of a high-priced call girl service.

Paterson told the Daily News of New York City that he had a relationship with another woman from 1999 until 2001 during a rough patch in his marriage. He and his wife eventually repaired their relationship.

The couple agreed to speak publicly about their marriage in response to rumors about Paterson's personal life that have been swirling in Albany since Spitzer resigned, the Daily News reported Monday on its web site.

"This was a marriage that appeared to be going sour at one point," Paterson told the Daily News. "But I went to counseling and we decided we wanted to make it work. Michelle is well aware of what went on."

Paterson's spokesman did not immediately reply late Monday to an e-mail or telephone calls seeking comment on the interview.

Hours before the interview, Paterson outlined a message of unity in a state eager to move past his predecessor's sordid and speedy political collapse.

"We move forward. Today is Monday. There is work to be done. There was an oath to be taken. There's trust that needs to be restored. There are issues that need to be addressed."

Paterson took the oath of office from Chief Judge Judith Kaye, who took office when her predecessor, Sol Wachtler, was caught harassing an ex-lover.