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.
"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.