Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino has spent a good part of the morning backtracking from the inflammatory, anti-gay statements he made yesterday. ("Exposing [children] to homosexuality, especially at a gay pride parade ... they wear these little speedos and they grind against each other. It's just a terrible thing," he told Matt Lauer on the Today show. Lauer quite rightly takes him to task on his verbiage both on the air and at last night's speech.) But just as the bigotry spotlight is swinging his way, the New York Post reveals that Paladino's own team may be prepping an attack against Andrew Cuomo, seeking to brand the attorney general an "anti-Semite."
In 500 pages worth of anti-Cuomo research that was probably actually prepared for a 2002 Pataki reelection campaign (in case Cuomo ran against him). The Post zeroes in on one page in particular:
"Memorandum. Date: June 21, 2001. Re: Andrew Cuomo an anti-Semite?" one page of the material begins. "While Americans are sleeping in the streets and rundown HUD housing, their landlord Andrew Cuomo is in bed with terrorists?" it continues. "First: Instead of focusing on the poor and homeless here in the United States, HUD Secretary Cuomo traveled to the Middle East to befriend terrorist Yasser Arafat and Palestine. "Now: Cuomo names Russell Simmons, a supporter of anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, a 'senior black advisor' to his campaign," the document continues. Cuomo, as HUD secretary, met with Arafat and Palestinian leaders in 2000 to discuss housing and refugee issues during an official visit to the Mideast. Renowned hip-hop entrepreneur and Phat Farm fashion creator Simmons has been a longtime Cuomo supporter and financial backer, as well as an aggressive opponent of anti-Semitism and racism. He hosted the Nation of Islam leader and his sons at his lower Manhattan home last year when they were in New York to greet Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy.
Wait, wait, wait. Andrew Cuomo is friends with Russell Simmons? That is the last straw! Anyone who would actually marry Kimora Lee is obviously a dangerous political dissident.
The moral of this story, meanwhile, is Paladino views implied anti-Semitism as a far more politically damaging sentiment than open homophobia. Consider that as you watch this clip from this morning's Today show: