Former NY Governor Hugh Cary says not hiring a historian was a mistake

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After admitting that his second marriage to a woman who, it turned out, had several ex-husbands, was a mistake, former NY Governor Hugh Carey said in an interview that failing to hire a historian to record details of the state's fiscal crisis and its successful resolution in the seventies was an even worse mistake. He hopes to rectify that lapse by writing his memoirs.

Mr. Carey said that had his first wife not died in 1974, he would have challenged Jimmy Carter for the presidency. ''I had real ambition to run against Carter,'' he said. ''I felt he didn't have the capacity to be president. He lacked true vision.''

He said that despite having endorsed a number of prominent Republicans, including Gov. George E. Pataki for re-election (at the ceremony, Howard J. Rubenstein, the publicist, read a proclamation from Mr. Pataki), he remains a proud Democrat (who was elected governor himself by challenging the party organization).

Mr. Carey who turned 86 last April, commutes between his Upper East Side apartment and the Harris Beach law office on Third Avenue, where he is a senior partner. He depends on a cane, which makes him appear even more dapper.

What does he hope to be remembered for?

''That's the toughest question anybody has to answer,'' he replied, then answered: ''As a man who loved the people of New York as much as he loved his own family.''

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