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Peekskill Native George Pataki Touts Record As Governor In First Debate

Gov. George Pataki during Thursday's debate in Cleveland.
Gov. George Pataki during Thursday's debate in Cleveland. Photo Credit: Fox News screengrab

This story has been updated

GARRISON, N.Y. -- Former New York Gov. George Pataki said he got a Democratic controlled legislature to pass conservative reforms during his three terms as governor.

Pataki, a former Peekskill mayor who now lives in Garrison, participated in Thursday's Republican presidential candidate forum on FOX News that featured seven contenders, including four current or former governors. Pataki did not qualify for Thursday 9 p.m. debate featuring the 10 candidates with the highest poll totals.

"As governor of New York, I brought people together," Pataki said. "We need to rebuild our military to stand up to radical Islam. We need to end crony capitalism. We need new leadership, I will be that new leader."

If elected president, Pataki said he would do everything in his power to go after those attempting to radicalize Americans into joining ISIS.

"We have to destroy their training camps and recruiting centers," Pataki said. "We have to destroy their ability to attack us over there and get out."

Pataki, whose two sons served in the military, said he would not put troops on the ground.

The former governor defended his pro-life stance on abortion, but said he would try to defund Planned Parenthood.

"We should ban taxpayer dollars to fund abortion," Pataki said.

Pataki said he would propose legislation outlawing abortion after 20 weeks, attacking Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden for supporting it.

When he took office, Pataki said he revoked Mario Cuomo's executive orders and would do the same to President Barack Obama's executive orders.

"I would institute a hiring freeze, except for military and defense," Pataki said. "We reduced the New York State workforce by 15 percent. We can do that in Washington. I will do it in Washington."

As governor, Pataki said New York went from the most dangerous state to the 4th safest.

"I've been tested in a way no one else has," Pataki said. "I was governor on Sept. 11. The talk has got to stop and the action has to begin."

Pataki said Clinton was divisive and untrustworthy.

Dr. Christopher Malone, an associate professor of politicial science at Pace University, said Pataki's time as a candidate has come and gone.

"I don't think he helped himself," Malone said. "He couldn't hurt himself because no one has given him a chance. He's been out of the spotlight so long."

Malone said Carly Fiorina, a former executive at Hewlett Packard, was the big winner in the debate.

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