Paladino takes aim at Cuomo as governors meet

September 16, 2010 3:17:26 AM PDT
New York's three most recent governors - David Paterson, Eliot Spitzer and George Pataki - will will sit down together Thursday for a discussion on the economic future of the state.

The key to that future will be the next man to hold the office.

And with just under seven weeks to election day, that race is heating up.

Carl Paladino got 17,000 votes in New York City, compared to 275,000 votes upstate. He admits he doesn't care for Manhattan and Brooklyn, since they are "too Democratic and too crowded." But from now to election day, he'll be fighting for votes there.

The Tea Party-backed Republican candidate is pushing Democrat Andrew Cuomo to agree to a debate everyday from now to Election Day.

"He can't ignore me," Paladino said. "He's gotta go out and tell the people what he's about."

Paladino spoke with Eyewitness News in Buffalo about his primary victory and his battle against Cuomo's $24 million war chest.

Paladino is outspoken. He has defended a friend who compared Assembly speaker Shelly Silver to Hitler and the anti-Christ. He also admits to forwarding emails of racist jokes and photographs that portray President Obama as a pimp.

But all that, he says, doesn't matter now.

"The people are not concerned with emails," he said. "I've apologized to any who that bothered, and I've acknowledged that I did send out emails. But the real obscenity is in Albany."

Cuomo is expected to release a new, tougher ad in a few days, attacking Paladino as unfit to hold office. And the state Democratic party chairman calls Paladino a whacko.

But Republican chairman Ed Cox is standing by Paladino.

"We're together here in New York, and we have been from the start," he said. "I was a part of some of the original Tea Party events."

As for the debates, Paladino has accepted an Eyewitness News offer to host one. There's been no response yet from Cuomo.