MARY LOUISE KELLY, host:
We're going to focus now on two specific races heading into November - both in New York. In a moment, we'll hear about the U.S. Senate seat that's up for grabs. But first, the heated contest to be the state's next chief executive.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Carl Paladino is the Republican candidate for governor of New York. He's a developer from the Buffalo area. He's running against Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the state's attorney general. Welcome to the program, Mr. Paladino.
Mr. CARL PALADINO (Republican gubernatorial candidate, New York): Oh, thank you.
SIEGEL: There's a Cuomo campaign commercial out that says you, Carl Paladino, funneled - their word - $452,000 to politicians, received $12 million in tax breaks, and $10 million a year in government rents. And it describes you as a Capitol insider.
Have you, in fact, in business been benefiting from the very size of government that you run against now?
Mr. PALADINO: First of all, I bid every one of those tenants, and I was the low bidder. I don't like the insinuation - OK - that I am receiving rents unfairly. I saved the state tons of money by being the low bidder. So you tell me why that question keeps being posed by people.
SIEGEL: Well, I - it's...
Mr. PALADINO: Now, the rest of your question had to do with me giving campaign contributions. Never, never once, with any type or any - and I defy anybody to ever produce - OK - any evidence that I used political contributions for purpose of advancing my own interests.
What are these things? They're fabrications by Andrew Cuomo, which somehow the press picks up and doesn't let go of.
SIEGEL: Well, I'm asking you about them because they appear in his advertisements against you.
Mr. PALADINO: Of course, they appear...
SIEGEL: And you've answered them.
Mr. PALADINO: ...in his advertising. And his advertising is gutter advertising.
SIEGEL: You went viral with a video last week - your encounter with a reporter was over - he challenged what you had said about Andrew Cuomo's marriage and possible extramarital affairs. We saw you - lots of people have now seen you, and the implication is...
Mr. PALADINO: I just got done saying to you, OK...
SIEGEL: You what?
Mr. PALADINO: We're done with Andrew Cuomo's gutter politics. I'm talking about issues. I'm talking about reckless spending. I'm talking about reckless taxation of the people of the state of New York. Why...
SIEGEL: But there's also an impression...
Mr. PALADINO: Why does - why does...
SIEGEL: ...but there's also an impression...
Mr. PALADINO: ...why does the press want to distract the people from the issues? They want to know why Andrew Cuomo doesn't come out and answer the questions. What about Obama-care, Andrew? Where do you stand on it?
SIEGEL: Well, I'll ask Attorney General Cuomo that. I'll ask Andrew Cuomo that. But let me ask you about the impression of temperament that people have had after seeing you lose it with a New York Post reporter.
Mr. PALADINO: I didn't lose it. Absolutely not.
SIEGEL: Were you under control at that time?
Mr. PALADINO: I'm a father. And I didn't lose anything. I did what is not politically correct, yes, because I'm not politically correct and I don't want to be.
SIEGEL: I'll take you out, you said. You'll...
Mr. PALADINO: Absolutely. I said, I'll - and I've said it time and again. I will take out that bad government. I will take out the bad guys. I will take out Sheldon Silver. And, yes, I will take out the trash. And you know who's included in the trash? Fred Dicker.
SIEGEL: The New York Post reporter.
Mr. PALADINO: He's part of everything that is wrong in our government today.
SIEGEL: But on a broader level, you know, distributing email, by email images of photo-shopped...
Mr. PALADINO: That's a broader level? How many times do you want me to answer that question? I apologized.
SIEGEL: Well, I haven't heard you answer the question about photo-shopping...
Mr. PALADINO: I apologized.
SIEGEL: ...images of the Obamas dressed up as a pimp and a streetwalker.
Mr. PALADINO: I apologized to anybody, OK, who may have been offended by my re-sending of e-mails. I didn't create them. I re-sent them, OK? And I've apologized.
It's the high crimes and misdemeanors of an Andrew Cuomo, though, that people are interested in. Tell us, sir, about the Andrew Farkas affair. You tell us how he gets to give Andrew Farkas a pass on a criminal activity - where the man stole monies from the federal government and from the taxpayers, and he gives him a pass to settle the whole thing for $7.4 million, despite the opposition of his inspector general.
SIEGEL: I want to ask you about dealing with someone like Sheldon Silver. He's the speaker of the New York State Assembly.
Mr. PALADINO: I don't care what office he holds. He holds it by default, OK? He holds it because hes assembled that kind of power and been allowed to assemble that kind of power, where he can act as an individual dictator. That is wrong. That's not the representative republic that the people of the state of New York are entitled to under its constitution.
SIEGEL: Let's say you get elected governor. You're the Republican governor of New York state. And let's say the Democrats retain the New York State Assembly, and Sheldon Silver is the assembly speaker. How would this approach that you're expressing right now, lead to anything other than a persistent deadlock and inaction in your state's government?
Mr. PALADINO: I will shine - I will use transparency and a spotlight. Anytime that Sheldon Silver or any of his cronies, all right, want to discuss an issue, it's not going to be discussed in some little, smoke-filled room, all right? It's going to be discussed out in public, in front of the people.
He said a couple of weeks ago if I'm elected, he will leave the state of New York. We bought him a bus ticket, sir.
SIEGEL: But if he doesn't take the bus ticket and you actually have to deal with the Democrats in Albany, doesnt there come some point when some kind of conciliation is required...
Mr. PALADINO: In the context of...
SIEGEL: ...not just hitting people with a baseball bat, as you've said figuratively. I assume figuratively, you meant.
Mr. PALADINO: In the context of the way government has been run, yes, the baseball bat - that's my metaphor for the people - the people will support the total revision of their government. And we will call out any legislators that try to get in the way. And we'll let the people speak to them.
SIEGEL: Well, Mr. Paladino, thank you very much for talking with us today.
Mr. PALADINO: Well, thank you, sir.
SIEGEL: Carl Paladino, who is the Republican candidate for governor of New York state.
KELLY: And we should say we've also invited Mr. Paladino's opponent, Democrat Andrew Cuomo, to appear on this program.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.