Monday, September 20, 2010
In Letter, Carl Paladino Challenges Andrew Cuomo - NYTimes.com
Showing no sign of tempering the combative style that helped earn him the Republican nomination for governor, Carl P. Paladino plans to release a taunting and belligerent letter on Monday that questions the manhood of his Democratic opponent, Andrew M. Cuomo, and derides him as a “king-designate” dependent on “daddy’s coattails.”
Asserting that Mr. Cuomo had refused to heed his calls for a face-to-face exchange, Mr. Paladino wrote: “Come out and debate like a man.”
“It’s difficult to understand why you, a polished veteran campaigner, scion of a political dynasty and king-designate, would fear a simple businessman from Buffalo, who candidly has never been in a debate in his life — except maybe in a bar,” Mr. Paladino wrote.
The chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, Jay Jacobs, said in a statement on Sunday night that Mr. Cuomo had already said he was open to a debate and assailed the tone of the letter. He added, “It seems Carl is melting down again.”
Debates aside, the letter itself seemed to quell any notion that Mr. Paladino, a real estate developer and a political novice, might morph into a more traditional candidate for the general election. If anything, its aggressive personal attack on Mr. Cuomo, the state’s attorney general, suggested that he had been emboldened by his primary triumph.
“What I find most offensive,” Mr. Paladino wrote, referring to his call for a debate, “other than the arrogance toward the public by your lack of a public answer, is the idea that this is somehow your decision. You have some sense of entitlement based on being the son of Mario Cuomo, a governor who left our state economy in a wreck.”
The letter, which lacks the decorum traditionally found in such political correspondence, evokes the scrappy, street-fighting tone of Mr. Paladino’s primary campaign, which galvanized conservative crowds and Tea Party affiliates but remains untested among moderate voters.
“Andrew, for the first time in your life be a man,” Mr. Paladino wrote. “Don’t hide behind daddy’s coattails even though he pulled strings to advance your career every step of your way.”
The letter offered a preview of Mr. Paladino’s possible points of attack against Mr. Cuomo, who retains a healthy lead in polls. He accused his opponent of being too close to Charles B. Rangel, the embattled Harlem congressman, and questioned his handling of a state pension scandal.
Mr. Paladino already has a reputation for controversy. He has been criticized for sending e-mail containing pornographic imagery and racist humor and defended an ally who compared the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, to “an Antichrist or Hitler.”