Dem Cuomo Takes High Road; GOP Candidate Slams SilverBy Tony Aiello

NEW YORK (CBS 2 / WCBS 880) — New York Democrats were piling up on Carl Paladino on Thursday, calling the Republican candidate for governor unworthy of the office.

Leading the charge on behalf of Democrat Andrew Cuomo was Gov. David Paterson.

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It’s a war of words and CBS 2’s Tony Aiello has the story.

Cuomo decided to play Mr. “above the fray” on Thursday, refusing to join the harsh salvo fired at Republican Paladino by Gov. Paterson.

“They don’t need my opinion on the opponent’s judgment,” Cuomo said. “They’re his e-mails. I’ll leave it to his characterization.”

Paterson, however, didn’t hold back.

“I don’t think he’s fit for public service. He transferred emails back and forth that were racist, homophobic, and misogynist. There was a plane in one of the e-mails crashing in Africa and it said ‘run (n-word) run,’” the governor said.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb with comment from Paterson, Pataki

His strong words were a striking contrast from Wednesday when the governor had only mild things to say about Paladino.

To some it looks like Paterson is playing bad cop to Cuomo’s good cop.

“Andy Cuomo has to be very afraid that Carl Paladino will ride a tsunami of discontent, of anger and frustration into the statehouse,” Republican political strategist Mike Edelman said.

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So Democrats want to turn the anger onto Paladino. Party leaders released statements slamming Paladino as a racially insensitive extremist.

Paterson’s comments were downright mild compared to what state Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs has been saying about Paladino.

In July Jacobs called him a “quack.” On Thursday he called Paladino “a wacko.”

Of course, Paladino can also speak with an acid tongue. Here was his take Thursday on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“He’s a diabolical person. He’s not about doing the right thing,” Paladino said.

Paladino has apologized for forwarding the offensive e-mails and doesn’t think voters care.

Aiello asked a few.

“He’s definitely wrong, that’s for sure. He could not represent me!” one person said.

“I’m gonna look more into him before I judge,” another added.

It’s shaping up to be an interesting seven weeks to Election Day.

Cuomo said he’s willing to debate Paladino but the campaigns must negotiate details.

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CBS 2 has joined with the New York Times and the City University of New York in a formal offer to sponsor a debate.

Tony Aiello