GOP’s Paladino in statewide TV address says media unfair; debate now set in NY governor race

By Michael Gormley, AP
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Trailing NY gov candidate takes to TV to make case

ALBANY, N.Y. — Republican Carl Paladino spent three minutes of paid TV airtime in his hometown of Buffalo Thursday trying to explain directly to New Yorkers his version of a week’s worth of conflict that has ended his momentum and threatens his campaign for governor.

“For weeks the media has badgered me about affairs,” Paladino said in the rare three-minute ad run on Buffalo TV stations. He said he’s been frustrated that the same questions aren’t posed to Cuomo, whose “prowess is legendary.”

In that, Paladino returned to his claim that Cuomo had affairs before his 13-year marriage ended in 2003 to Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy. Facing a backlash, Paladino the next day told The Buffalo News he had no proof of any Cuomo affair, but later seemed to backtrack again in an interview on Fox Business News, saying he would release any proof soon.

Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said Paladino was trying to “con New Yorkers.”

“They have seen the real Carl and they know he is unfit to be governor with his unstable outbursts, smears, and total lack of substance,” Vlasto said. “As we all know by now, Carl has a casual relationship with the truth.” He added that Paladino “once again debased himself and the entire political process.”

In the TV ad run on Buffalo TV stations with lower ad rates but afterward carried by blogs and news organizations statewide, Paladino again said his recent confrontation with the New York Post was the result of his anger over what he felt was the need to protect his 10-year-old daughter from the tabloid’s photographers and reporters. He said he was upset in his now renowned shouting match with New York Post State Editor Fred Dicker because he still believes the newspaper scared his daughter.

Paladino also again challenged Cuomo to “come out and debate like a man,” after ducking the issue for weeks. Minutes before the taped ad ran, Hofstra University announced Cuomo and the five minor-party candidates had committed to an Oct. 18 debate on Long Island. Paladino’s campaign accepted the invitation a short time later.

Paladino said the campaign’s last weeks need to be not about personal attacks, but “tough, new ethics laws” and other reforms for Albany, which he said is inept and corrupt.

“We can turn Albany upside down, we take out the trash,” he said.

The ad then sought “emergency” contributions for the millionaire developer to beat Cuomo who has a double-digit lead in the polls and about $20 million in his campaign account.

A Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters released Thursday shows Paladino is now 18 points behind Cuomo. In its Sept. 22 poll, Paladino had drawn to within six points of Cuomo after his shocking win in the Republican primary a week before.

Thursday’s poll shows that Paladino and his “mad as hell” campaign may be too volatile for most voters who have watched his harsh insults against Albany’s “political class.”

AP Writer Carolyn Thompson contributed to this report from Buffalo.


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