Last week, two days after Carl Paladino's shellacking of Rick Lazio in the Republican primary for governor, Andrew Cuomo refused to criticize his new, colorful general-election opponent.
Speaking in Downtown Manhattan today, Cuomo also declined to comment on Paladino's comparison of State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, an orthodox Jew, to Adolf Hitler.
"l don't know Mr. Paladino, and I don't think my characterization is all that relevant or appropriate, you know,” said Cuomo. “That's why we have a democracy, that's why we have elections. And the people of the state are going to tell you what they think."
Ah, the high road. But not really, if you count Cuomo surrogates like state Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs, who yesterday released a flyer depicting Paladino as a pig man feeding at the trough (of government), and asked rhetorically whether Paladino was "racist [and] misogynist as his e-mails suggest he is or is he just a high school boy in the body of a 64-year-old man?"
Stung by Carl Paladino's below-the-belt attacks, an angry Andrew Cuomo summoned his war council on Monday to figure out how to fight back against his slash-and-burn GOP rival.
"If a guy says you have no cojones, how do you punch him back, call him an a--hole?" the Democratic gubernatorial candidate fumed in a secret talk to his team, one insider said.
"We have all this stuff [on Paladino] and we're on the defensive," Cuomo groused, the insider added.
You can picture Paladino smiling as he reads the paper today: "Yes, Andrew. Let the hate flow through you."
So it looks like this race will probably get uglier and uglier as it goes on, which should be quite comfortable for the outspoken, nothing-to-lose Paladino. In fact, he seems to be having a ball. While Cuomo was brooding yesterday, in a nice bit of juxtaposition, Paladino was gallivanting around Manhattan and having awkward interactions with movie stars.
[H]e became star-struck in the lobby of the CBS Building on West 57th Street when he stumbled upon a glamorous British actress.
A reporter pointed her out to Mr. Paladino as a star of “The English Patient.” The gruff, aggressive candidate gasped, saying he liked the film, and rushed over to introduce himself.
“I’m Carl Paladino,” he said. “I loved, what was that movie?” he asked the reporter. “ ‘The English Patient,’ ” he said, with a prompt. Shaking the woman’s hand up and down, he asked, “What’s your name?”
“Kristin Scott Thomas,” she replied.
He asked her to repeat herself, leaning in to hear her better. Leaning back, she put a hand to the side of her mouth and called out, “Kristin Scott Thomas.” And then she scurried away toward an elevator.
"Kristin Scott Thomas?!?" Andrew Cuomo may have exclaimed today. "That's my favorite actress! Paladinooooo!"