NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880/1010 WINS) — It was an unusual move for a politician.
Carl Paladino, the Republican and tea party candidate for governor, sat down with the editorial board of CBS News on Monday for a no-holds barred, on-the-record interviews to talk about his campaign.
Paladino was not the GOP’s hand picked candidate for governor, but now that he has the nomination he already knows what he will do if wins.
“I’ll take my hand off the Bible. I’m going to turn to the Legislature and say, ‘Gentlemen, I’m going to hand you a budget of Feb. 1,’” Paladino said. “’You’ve got 60 days to ponder it, but mark my words: if you don’t give me a budget on March 31, except for public safety and health, the government shuts down.’
Paladino is not on a charm offensive. He is peddling voter anger at Albany and Democratic social welfare policies, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
“Come on, the tax payers of the state of New York don’t want all the poor of the world coming to the state of New York,” Paladino said. “We don’t want ‘em here. Let ‘em come in and send ‘em someplace else.”
Paladino said that a meeting with the CBS 2 editorial board should be on the record and he wasted no time going after his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo.
“We’ve all been to the zoo, alright. You go there and you stare at the zebra and the stripes just don’t change, but Andrew wants us to believe that the liberal progressive Andrew can now become the new conservative Democrat,” Paladino said.
Paladino said Cuomo doesn’t have the guts or intestinal fortitude to mix it up.
“What are you afraid of Andrew? Tell us what you’re afraid of,” Paladino said during an interview with Haskell, “I don’t think he has guts to confront the issues.”
Paladino continued to push Cuomo to debate him on the issues. State Democratic Party Chairman, Jay Jacobs said Cuomo was open to debates and that it seemed like Paladino was “melting down” again.
Some of Paladino’s platforms were just talk. He demanded an overhaul of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, for example, but when pressed about his plans he came off unprepared.
“I don’t know. Our researchers are going to give me a position paper on that shortly,” Paladino said.
Asked why he railed at the “pay-to-play” culture of Albany, he didn’t have much to say when Kramer asked him about charges he has given more than $400,000 in political contributions and received millions in economic development tax breaks from the state.
“I haven’t taken any tax benefit that wasn’t available to everybody,” Paladino said.
He did explain why he thinks voters should be angry with Albany.
“Why in New York do we have $137 billion budget for 19 million people? In the state of Florida, for 18.2 million people the budget is $76 billion. You do the math. People are fed up with their government,” Paladino said.
Paladino’s goal Monday was to try and goad Cuomo into debating him.
“Andrew Cuomo doesn’t have the cojones to debate me because he doesn’t want to face the issues,” Paladino said.
But Democratic political strategist Hank Sheinkopf defended the Cuomo strategy.
“There are those who would argue that Andrew Cuomo is hiding from Carl Paladino, but that’s pretty ridiculous. The strategy here is put off debating as long as you can send credible surrogates out to beat the devil out of Paladino and after he’s weakened finish him off,” Sheinkopf said.
Team Paladino said they have a lot more arrows in their arsenal as they attempt top smoke Cuomo out.
They said they will attack him personally and politically in the days to come. The only thing off limits, they said, is Cuomo’s three daughters.
A new poll shows Paladino is gaining in popularity but Cuomo remains firmly in the lead.
The latest post primary poll from Rasmussen shows Cuomo with 54 percent of the vote, down 4 points from July. Paladino is enjoying a post-primary win bump. His popularity jumped to nine points to 38 percent, up from 29 percent in July.