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N.Y. Gov. Paterson makes Iraq visit

Dec. 21, 2008 at 12:37 PM

BAGHDAD, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- New York Gov. David Paterson was among a contingent of politicians making a surprise holiday season visit to Iraq, a governor's aide said Sunday.

Paterson, a Democrat, joined Democratic New York congressmen Steve Israel and Anthony Weiner in a delegation trip that landed in Baghdad early Sunday, Newsday reported.

"It is a privilege for me to visit the troops during the holiday season," Paterson said in a statement. "Thousands of families across our state will have an empty place at their holiday tables because a loved one is overseas serving our country."

About 8,300 New Yorkers are active-duty service members serving in Iraq with another 2,000 reservists also in the country, officials said.

Also in the delegation were U.S. Reps. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Ed Whitfield R-Ky. Paterson's statement didn't say how long the politicians would be in Iraq, Newsday reported.

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