Monday, October 4, 2010

GOP bigs want loudmouth Carl Paladino to say sorry to Andrew Cuomo over adultery zinger

Elizabeth Benjamin

Monday, October 4th 2010, 4:00 AM

Carl Paladino said that Andrew Cuomo had stepped out on his ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy. Paladino later backed down from the comment.
Lennihan/AP
Carl Paladino said that Andrew Cuomo had stepped out on his ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy. Paladino later backed down from the comment.

Loose-lipped gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino is coming under intense internal pressure from the Republican Party to apologize for accusing his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo, of extramarital affairs.

Nervous GOP leaders and elected officials are anxious to move on.

Some think a public apology might be the best way to demonstrate the mad-as-hell Buffalo businessman is capable of maturity, a source close to the Paladino campaign said.

It's unclear whether Paladino, who has been lobbing verbal bombs at Cuomo for weeks, is willing. His campaign spokesman did not return calls Sunday.

There's considerable debate in Paladino's campaign over the explosive charge he made last week that Cuomo had stepped out on his ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy.

Paladino first insisted he had proof of his claims that he would release "at the appropriate time." He then backed down, saying hemerely wanted Cuomo to receive the same media scrutiny about his personal life that he had weathered regarding the daughter he fathered out of wedlock.

Last Friday, however, Paladino flip-flopped again, reiterating during a Fox News interview that his campaign would "say whatever we have in our box at the appropriate time, yes."

The person close to the Paladino campaign called the candidate "uncontrollable" and said he's having trouble turning himself from an uber-angry primary contender to a more sedate general election candidate.

Two of Paladino's GOP ticket mates - controller hopeful Harry Wilson and Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, the attorney general contender - won't endorse him.

"Everybody's waiting to see if he can keep his s--t together," a GOP operative not connected to the campaign said. "It would be nice if he could just keep his s--t together for a week."

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State Senate Democrats have made a fund-raising comeback, outpacing the GOP by nearly 3 to 1 in the latest reporting cycle. This amounts to a $1 million edge heading into the Nov. 2 battle for control of the chamber.

According to the Dem's 32-day pregeneral filing, the Democratic majority raised $450,955 compared with the GOP's $163,525. The Dems also transferred in an additional $1.2 million from candidates who don't have contested elections.

The Democrats reported raising just $61,250 in the 10 days immediately following the Sept. 14 primary, compared with the Republicans' $179,640. The Democrats now have just over $3 million on hand, while the Republicans have about $2.1 million.

Austin Shafran, spokesman for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, said the numbers show "momentum is on our side." A Senate Republican insisted "money won't be an issue" in November, noting polls show the GOP leading or tied in four key races.

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An election has again divided Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and his father, state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.

Diaz Jr. endorsed Cuomo over the weekend and called Paladino "a straight and utter nut job" - even though his father has hosted the GOP/Conservative contender and said he's "open" to crossing party lines to endorse him.

Diaz Sr. is angry Cuomo has ignored invitations to meet with his New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, which Paladino addressed in August. The senator said he wasn't invited to an event over the weekend at which Latino leaders - including his son - backed Cuomo.

"What do you want me to do, say, 'Oh, yes, we're Democrats. Yes, master?' There's no master here," Diaz Sr. said.

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