NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Republican Carl Paladino is trying to get his campaign back on track by painting himself as just a dad trying to protect his daughter following an incident where angrily raised issues about fidelity in Democrat Andrew Cuomo’s marriage.
But he didn’t apologize.
Paladino is hoping to tone down his “angry man” image by explaining to voters that his outburst at a New York Post reporter was the result of his frustration about all the questions he got about his own marriage and out-of-wedlock daughter, reports CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer.
“For weeks the media has badgered me about affairs because unlike a career politician I was honest enough to acknowledge she was my daughter when I announced my candidacy,” Paladino says in a new ad.
In the heat of battle Paladino charged that Cuomo had extramarital affairs and he didn’t apologize. But he did give some insight into how hard the questions were for him.
“Are you having an affair now? How many have you had? When was your daughter conceived? What I meant to express in my anger is simply this: does the media ask Andrew such questions? Andrew’s prowess is legendary. No, this campaign must be about bigger issues,” Paladino said.
Paladino was clearly trying to change the dynamic in the New York governor’s race.
The last few weeks have been difficult. He got into a face-to-face fight with a reporter, accused Cuomo of unspecified infidelity — then recanted — and called Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver a criminal. All of it sent his Paladino’s numbers plummeting.
A new Quinnipiac University poll now gives Cuomo an 18-point lead — 55 percent to 37 percent. Two weeks ago Paladino trailed by just 6, 49-43.
And when asked if Paladino has the right personality to be governor, 54 percent of pollsters said no, to only 30 percent yes. On top of that, 67 percent said Cuomo has the right personality, while 24 percent said he does not.
Meanwhile, Gov. David Paterson questioned Paladino’s truthfulness in making campaign promises.
“I’m just wondering where his fantasy ends. I would not be surprised if I read the next few days that it was Carl Paladino and not Capt. Sullenberger who landed the plane on the ‘Miracle on the Hudson,’” Paterson said.
Paterson said Paladino’s promise to cut $20 billion in Medicaid spending would decimate the state’s health care system and stop New York from getting billions in federal funds.
“We’d be out of Medicaid. We’re talking about a million children, 750,000 blind and disabled and 500,000 seniors,” Paterson said.
Cuomo’s camp labeled Paladino’s new ad a “con,” but did accept an invitation to a debate, which Paladino also accepted.
It is set for Oct. 18.