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Scandal time: Paladino gets a pass

Some candidates have baggage. Carl Paladino has enough to fill the belly of a plane.

And yet he is in a competitive race for governor of New York, at least according to some recent polls.

The media seem to be treating Paladino's past in perfunctory fashion, even though the revelations would sink most politicians. It defies the laws of physics. It makes dabbling in witchcraft seem like a school prank. There's even video now of him threatening a reporter.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that the tough-talking Republican is a wealthy Buffalo businessman who can finance his own race against Andrew Cuomo.

Let's start with the affair.

In a sympathetic column, Susan Dominus of the New York Times chatted up Paladino's wife, Cathy, about the matter:

Her husband not only had an affair, not only fathered a child with that other woman, but also told his wife of 40 years about it all the same week that their 29-year-old son, Patrick, was killed in a car accident. He pulled her aside, Ms. Paladino said, as she was looking for family photographs to bring to the wake.

"He said he was very sorry to cause me pain, the relationship with the mother was over ... and there was a child," she said.

I had to read it twice and shake my head in disbelief.

Then there was this, which came out in April, but no one much cared because no one thought Paladino was going to win the nomination:

Racist and sexually explicit e-mail messages that a left-leaning Web site claimed he had sent to friends and business associates in recent years.

The messages ... included pornographic images and what appeared to be a video of Africans dancing in traditional dress that was titled "Obama Inauguration Rehearsal."

Another, a picture of a cargo plane crashing into the ground behind a group of black people, was prominently captioned with a common racial epithet for African-Americans.

Uh-huh.

A spokesman said Paladino regretted sending the e-mails.

How about the candidate's staff?

His campaign manager failed to pay nearly $53,000 in federal taxes over the last few years, prompting the Internal Revenue Service to take action against him. An aide who frequently drives Mr. Paladino on the campaign trail served jail time in Arizona on charges of drunken driving.

Another adviser has been indicted on charges of stealing more than $1 million from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's re-election bid last year.

Paladino certainly knows how to throw a punch--even when it's below the belt:

"New York Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino alleged Tuesday that Democrat Andrew Cuomo was unfaithful to his ex-wife years ago, a stunning accusation that validated his earlier prediction that the race would be getting nastier," Politico reports.

"Paladino offered no proof of his claim, despite requests for substantiation, and he made it minutes after angrily declaring his 10-year-old daughter -- a child from his own affair 10 years ago -- off limits to the press."

No proof.

"Has anybody asked Andrew Cuomo about his paramours?" Paladino said, as campaign manager Michael Caputo chimed in, "when he was married."

Paladino continued, "When he was married -- or asked him why his wife left him or threw him out of the house? Has anybody ever done that?" he demanded. "What are they doing intruding on my life?"

When New York Post columnist Fred Dicker confronted him about the story, Paladino threatened him -- and the tense exchange is captured on YouTube. "I'll take you out, buddy," the nominee declared.

This is not an examination of Paladino's positions or whether he'd make a better governor than Cuomo. This is about the dynamics of 2010, when an outsider -- and Paladino is certainly that -- can gain traction despite a checkered past.

Maybe people don't care about this stuff any more. Maybe it doesn't qualify as news because it dribbled out before Paladino upset Rick Lazio for the nomination.

But hey, maybe reporters should be rooting for the guy. It would be a very colorful four years. And what would stop Eliot Spitzer from challenging him next time around? The hooker business might seem like a minor diversion by comparison.

By Howard Kurtz  | September 30, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Latest stories, Top story  | Tags:  Andrew Cuomo, Carl Paladino, New York, affair, governor, media, scandal  
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Next: Rahm heckled on way out

Comments

A racist, who cheats on his wife, and threatens to murder anyone who talks about it. This is the face of the Tea Party.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | September 30, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

A construction exec whose name ends in a vowel. Just sayin' ...

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | September 30, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Palladino is like a ba$tard mix of Dick Cheney and Hugo Chavez - I have seen pitbulls with better manners and nicer personalities than him.

Posted by: maggots | September 30, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I hate the Tea Party & everything it stands for--However, it seems that the NY Post started this mess by sending a reporter to the home of Paladino's child and that Paladino was just demanding an equal investigation of Cuomo. Seems reasonable to me.
The press should simply stay away from any candidate's wife & children--or get punched in the nose.

rhhkrnrw

Posted by: rhhkrnrw | September 30, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Is this jerk the best the Taliban Republican Teabaggers have to offer to the good citizens of New York? When did the older Republicans, those with education and morals, let their party slip away.
I've voted for Repubican Presidents mostly even as an Independent, but no more. They'll have to kill themselves off and start all over before I will ever even consider it. They cannot remain the White Man's political party for too much longer because in twenty years their own kids will be bringing home friends of color and they may even gain some as relatives.
The clowns in the Republican Congress for the past twenty years have been so totally unAmerican and proBusiness that they've allowed corporate America to shaft the middle class.
Don't blame it solely on whoever is President, because that only lasts four or eight years. Blame the loss of American jobs for American citizens directly on those greedy SOBs in industry. Just look what those CEOs and their toadies have done for themselves even in the face of the TARP bailout.
Has anyone heard any single Republican Congressmen stand up before the cameras which they love to do, and call the greedy SOBs out? Absolutely not.
And now they've allowed the Teabagging idiots to pull in more undereducated fools to represent their party.
Does anyone know of anything that Palin screeches about that will ever come to fruition or be of any help to the middle class except of course, what will bring her the most in personal wealth?
Paladino is a perfect fit for a friendship with Newt Gingrich the serial adulterer, who makes his living off of corporate welfare and who's only duties are to demean and defame the President of the United States. fritz

Posted by: papafritz571 | September 30, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"I'll take you out"?

Is this Mr. Paladino's version of "2nd Amendment remedies"?

While I no longer live there, I'm a New Yorker born and bred. I believe I know a thug when I see and hear one, and this guy sure seems to fit the bill.

Posted by: rogied25 | September 30, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Rethuglican

Posted by: neec13 | September 30, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

What really tells me I can never vote for a Republican again is the fact he is accepted by Republican Party because they want to win even if the person is not qualified and is a terrible human being. If this guy was a Democrat he would be lynched hourly on TV and entire party would be condemned for supporting him at all. I have always voted for the person and platform but in a situation where a person has access to millions and can change the lives of ordinary, powerless citizens character counts. That this guy is morally corrupt is one thing but he seems to think the public has the problem not him. If he wants to be a racist, cheat and liar - fine but stay in private sector - don't dare enter public sector. My garbage collector is a better human being than this guy.

Posted by: Lemon7221 | September 30, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

It takes a very special kind of guy to make Fred Dicker sympathetic in any situation.

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | September 30, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"However, it seems that the NY Post started this mess by sending a reporter to the home of Paladino's child and that Paladino was just demanding an equal investigation of Cuomo. Seems reasonable to me.
The press should simply stay away from any candidate's wife & children--or get punched in the nose."

There's more to it than that - it wasn't Paladino's "wife & children" - it was a formerly-secret mistress and out-of-wedlock child that Paladino's been trying to keep hidden. And then Paladino started accusing his opponent Cuomo of equally scandalous behavior - and why wasn't the "liberal media" investigating Cuomo? - and the reporter was demanding that Paladino offer up some sort of proof of his smear accusations of Cuomo (which Paladino refuses to provide - he's evidently all about the smear but not actually backing up his allegations with, you know, proof - when Paladino went all Mafia on him. Nice guy to have in public life.

People who run for public office - to represent the public! - should expect scrutiny. If the guy is trying to hide a mistress and an illegitimate kid - all the while trying to pretend that he's a "family man" to the voters - he should expect media scrutiny. If you have something to hide that you don't want the public to know about, then it's simple - don't run for public office!
It really makes me question the whole Palin "lame-stream media" thing. The media serves a necessary function to provide us facts about our public officials that they are unwilling to provide themselves. If someone is so insistant to avoid public scrutiny that they must slime the media, then it really makes you wonder what they're trying to hide.

Posted by: hohandy1 | September 30, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Just over a month from now, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to vote for Governor, deciding which candidate they feel will best serve their interests and the public. Carl Paladino is a candidate who thinks that being a local real estate developer in a medium-sized city, with no prior experience of any kind in public office, qualifies him to be the Governor of a state with a population of 19.5 million people and an annual budget of $136 billion. His personality and character, and his choice of advisers, speak for themselves. The selection of such candidates says more about the Tea Party, the Republican Party and the Conservative Party than any assertions about promoting limited government and fiscal responsibility ever could.

Fred Dicker's character and conduct also speak for themselves, but he is not a candidate for public office.

Posted by: 02Pete | September 30, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Sewer slug with money. So sad.

Posted by: veerle1 | September 30, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton was worse than both of these guys combined and New Yorkers voted for him twice as President of the United States

Posted by: muskie7 | September 30, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Going after his daughter was wrong...10 year old are not politicians.

Posted by: d1carter | September 30, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

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