[UPDATE BELOW]

Governor David A. Paterson's facial hair is no more. Days after meeting with President Obama (amid rumors that Obama requested him to leave the governor's race), Paterson has bared all on his face, losing his celebrated mustache before New Yorkers really got a chance to get to know it. The dramatic change was revealed when the governor arrived this morning for a meeting with state leaders.

The bare upper lip was an instant delight for bored journalists; in an article headlined "Hair-Raising Albany News, ’Stache Is Slashed," the Times's Danny Hakim writes that Paterson arrived "determined to trim the budget, but there was one immediate trim that everyone noticed." Ho ho, we're having fun today!

But it's devastating news for the hirsute activists over at the American Mustache Institute; they were elated at the end of August when Paterson reduced his beard to a mustache, hailing him for "representing a community of downtrodden Americans." But Paterson says it couldn't be helped—reporters immediately asked him about the shave, and he explained, "Additional deficit means additional cutting, and it’s likely before the end of this process you will see me bald."

UPDATE: Dr. Abraham Jonas Froman at the American Mustache Institute has sent us the following statement: "As one of the only Mustached American U.S. governors, Gov. Paterson would have certainly been a fine candidate for the prestigious "Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year" honor, which will be awarded at 'Stache Bash 2009 featuring John Oates on Oct. 30 in St. Louis.

"But the Governor's callous, selfish, and ignorant act has done a great disservice to people of Mustached American descent who were willing to support him in his reelection efforts. Now, more than likely, our community will shun him, and in an election year, it was a decision that was clearly made without great thought.

"Plus, he certainly was vastly better looking with his lower nose accoutrement, and once he loses office in this next election cycle, our studies demonstrate his future employment options would have also been 17.3 percent greater with a mustache, than without."