Don Heupel/AP Photo
New York Republican nominee for governor, Carl Paladino.
Don Heupel/AP Photo
New York's governor's race probably won't end soon enough for many voters, especially if there are a lot more stories like Carl Paladino, the Republican nominee and Tea Party-backed candidate, making allegations about Andrew Cuomo's fidelity during his now-defunct marriage.
The married Paladino was apparently angered by news reports about a child he fathered during an affair some years ago. And he directed that anger at the news media and his Democratic opponent Cuomo who, he says, the media haven't examined to the level they've subjected him to.
“Has anybody asked Andrew Cuomo about his paramours?” Paladino told POLITICO, as campaign manager Michael Caputo chimed in, “when he was married.”
Paladino continued, “When he was married — or asked him why his wife left him or threw him out of the house? Has anybody ever done that?” he demanded. “What are they doing intruding on my life?” ...
The blunt and unvarnished nature of Paladino’s allegations marked a jarring departure from statewide campaign norms, where charges of a highly sensitive or personal nature are rarely leveled by candidates themselves and are instead typically disseminated behind-the-scenes by operatives.
The Cuomo campaign's response has been to suggest it will take the high road and not descend into the "gutter", according to a report in the New York Times.
Cuomo’s split from Robert Kennedy’s daughter Kerry, with whom he has three children, was extensively covered when it took place in 2003. She was widely reported to have left the marriage, and to have had an affair with socialite Bruce Colley, with whom she later split. There has never been a public allegation or evidence that Cuomo had an affair, and Kennedy recently said she would be backing her former spouse for governor.
Meanwhile, the New York Post's Albany bureau chief, Fredric Dicker, got in Paladino's face about the Cuomo allegations at a campaign stop.
Paladino didn't back down when Dicker heatedly demanded evidence, with the Republican nominee saying he would provide it at the "appropriate" time and accusing Dicker of being Cuomo's "stalking horse" and "bird dog."
The confrontation was captured on a cell phone camera and, despite the video's poor quality, the nature of the encounter is clear. It was posted on CapitalTonight.com.
(The moment was also captured in all its high-definition glory by NPR member station WCNY-FM which serve Central New York and included it in a piece by Susan Arbetter for the "Capitol Report.")
Before the two men were separated, apparently by Paladino aides, the situation got stranger with Paladino warning Dicker to stay away from his daughter.
PALADINO: "You send another goon to my daughter's house and I'll take you out, buddy."
DICKER: You'll take me out? How are you going to do that?
You can hear a Paladino handler say: "Carl, that's enough" during the exchange.
Not a high point in New York State political history, that's certain.