Spitzer: Paladino Will ‘Disappear’

Former governor-turned-CNN commentator/host Eliot Spitzer, who just last week was teeing off on his ertswhile political rival, Andrew Cuomo, predicted today “with some confidence” that the AG will win the November election and his opponent, Carl Paladino, “will then disappear.”

Spitzer, who had his own tangles with The Post’s Fred Dicker (who broke the story that became first scandal of the Spitzer administration, Troopergate), steered clear of weighing in on last night’s Sagamore Smackdown, but did say the footage “looked like something out of Hollywood…like politics the way it was enacted 40 years ago.”

The former governor lamented the fact that the governor’s race has devolved – literally – into little more than a pushing match, saying: “I think it’s too bad that we’re not using this moment to have a real conversation about what the policies should be to bring New York State back to what it used to be, the empire state.”

Spitzer also plugged his new show “Parker/Spitzer”, which starts Monday. One of the first topics of discussion will be privacy and the invasion of privacy, or, as Spitzer put it: “The inability for people to lead a life without everybody staring at them.”

…which, of course, he knows more than a little something about.

Air Cuomo: Positive/Negative

For the second time, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo has released a pair of TV ads – one positive and one negative – with one highlighting his work as attorney general and the other attacking his GOP/Conservative opponent, Carl Paladino.

The positive spot features Michelle Minton, a Republican mother of two from Buffalo, who says she was harassed and threatened by a predatory debt collection company for a $4,400 bill she didn’t owe. She appealed to Cuomo for assistance and the people who had harassed her over the phone were arrested.

The negative ad again casts Paladino as an Albany insider who traded campaign contributions for lucrative real estate contracts with the state.

The positive ad was produced by Jonathan Cranin and the negative by Murphy Putnam. Details of when they will hit the airwaves and where they’ll be seen were not immediately available. Cuomo has now released six ads since the Sept. 14 primary signaled the official start of the general election.

Paladino: Dicker Part Of Albany ‘Trash’

GOP/Conservative gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino’s campaign has released a lengthy statement on his verbal – and near physical – altercation with The Post’s Fred Dicker in which he again challenges the veteran Albany scribe to ask Andrew Cuomo whether he was faithful during his marriage to Kerry Kennedy.

“Carl Paladino has been repeatedly asked irrelevant questions regarding relationships he may have had while married,” reads the statement, attributed to Paladino’s campaign manager Michael Caputo (who had his own exchange with Dicker at the Sagamore last night).

“We challenge Fred Dicker to ask Andrew Cuomo this question on the record, since it has been posed repeatedly to Carl Paladino: ‘Did you engage in extramarital relationships while you were married?’ A simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ will suffice.”

“Mr. Dicker will not ask this question of Cuomo, nor will Andrew Cuomo answer it.”

“Mr. Dicker gets extra Cuomo Brownie Points by claiming Carl threatened him. Carl has used this exact word choice throughout this campaign and several times on Mr. Dicker’s radio show: he’ll take out this government. He’ll take out the bad guys. He’ll take out Sheldon Silver.”

“Carl feels the same about Mr. Dicker, who is the best example of the cozy relationship some media have with the ruling elite. This is part of the problem in Albany, and Carl will take out the trash.”

Paladino gave his first interview since the incident on 77 WABC radio this morning to Bernard McGuirk, who struck a fairly sympathetic tone. The Buffalo businessman hit most of the points that Caputo lays out in the statement, which appears in full after the jump.

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‘Dodger Dan’

Taking a page out of the Paladino campaign’s Photoshop playbook, Sen. Eric Schneiderman’s camp has come up with a new nickname for his GOP opponent, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan: Dodger Dan.

DodgerDan2inch

“We’ve been impressed by Dodger Dan Donovan’s ability to duck, dodge and weave when questioned on his record or stance on the issues,” said Schneiderman campaign spokesman James Freedland.

“And we’re thrilled to introduce the character Dodger Dan and its Facebook site to follow his next dodges. From his refusal to answer questions on public corruption in Staten Island to his refusal to denounce racist emails, this site will be a one-stop shop to ensure that, while Dodger Dan may try to run, he can’t hide from the facts.”

So, to recap, we now have Hedge Fund Harry (Wilson), Albany Tom (DiNapoli) and, compliments of the Donovan campaign, State Street Eric.

Cuomo Lands Lazio’s Finance Chairman

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo just announced that his “Republicans for Cuomo Committee” has a new member: Rick Lazio’s former campaign finance chairman, Anthony Scaramucci.

“As a Republican, I am proud to serve as Finance Chair of Republicans for Cuomo,” said Scaramucci in a statement released by Cuomo’s campaign.

“We must not let our party become the party that embraces extremist views and values like those of Carl Paladino. I believe Andrew Cuomo has the experience to bring change to Albany and he has put forth a real plan, not just bluster, to enact real and meaningful reform for New Yorkers.”

Scaramucci is founder and manager of the hedge fund SkyBridge Capital. He was among Lazio’s biggest campaign contributors.

He was announced as a member of Lazio’s re-tooled “executive committee” in the wake of a shake-up in late July that saw the former congressman’s campaign manager, Kevin Fullington, replaced by former state GOP strategic planning director, Matt Walter.

Lazio himself had harsh words for both Cuomo and Paladino when he formally exited the campaign Monday, calling them “flawed.” He didn’t endorse either of his former opponents and won’t be doing so, thanks to his newfound position as a candidate for a Bronx state Supreme Court judgeship.

He Started It

Here’s Carl Paladino’s campaign manager Michael Caputo giving CapTon’s Kaitlyn Ross his take on last night’s Sagamore Smackdown.

The upshot: He believes Fred Dicker purposesly goaded the candidate into the near-fight, knowing full well Paladino was upset with The Post for trying to take pictures of the 10-year-old daughter he fathered out of wedlock.

“Fred came in after knowing that Carl was upset about that, and got right in his face,” Caputo said.

“It was a pretty aggressive exchange, and I believe Fred started it. But Carl is not very happy about anybody harassing his child, or his children, or his grandchildren. They were taking photographs of mail from her mailbox, and he’s very upset about that…The exchange, I think, was intentional on Fred Dicker’s part. I believe he was looking for that kind of a reaction because he heard Carl was upset. We don’t take kindly to it.”

Dicker said on TALK 1300 this morning that Kaitlyn’s cell phone video didn’t capture the start of his conversation with Paladino, which he insists began with him calmly questioning the candidate over his allegation that Andrew Cuomo stepped out on his ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy.

Caputo said Paladino learned of the efforts to take photos of his daughter while he was marching in the Columbus Day parade in Howard Beach, which may explain his outburst reported by Post columnist Andrea Peyser today.

Peyser’s first column on the topic of Paladino’s daughter didn’t mention his expletives and also said no one in Queens “gives a rat’s hump” how long he cheated on his wife with the mother of his out-of-wedlock child.

Duffy Stays Above ‘Personal Attacks’

Andrew Cuomo’s hand-picked LG running mate, Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy, just gave the Democratic ticket’s first interview since Carl Paladino accused Cuomo of engaging in extramarital affairs while married to Kerry Kennedy and declined to respond to the GOP/Conservative gubernatorial candidate’s allegations.

“The most important thing about any campaign…is about the issues, and we believe, and I’ll speak for Andrew, that the campaign should be positive, about the personal attacks,” Duffy told The Post’s Fred Dicker, who nearly came to blows with Paladino last night while trying to inteview him about his claims.

Duffy, a former police chief, said he had learned during his law enforcement career that what ultimately matters is “the facts and proof – that is it.”

“For somebody to make an allegation without backing that up, it just speaks to what people don’t want to see,” Duffy continued. “…This type of theater, if anything, it turns people off. It turns your average person off. We’re going to stay above it.”

Duffy acted as Cuomo’s surrogate this morning at the state Business Council’s annual meeting at the Sagamore in Bolton Landing. There has been talk that Cuomo, who took a pass on the event, might show up after all.

But so far, there has been no confirmation of that from either the campaign or the Business Council, and Duffy himself seemed unclear on the AG’s schedule.

Wilson Exerts His Independence

GOP/Conservative state comptroller candidate Harry Wilson is trying to turn his refusal to endorse his ticketmate, Carl Paladino, into an asset, saying it demonstrates a level of political independence that is lacking in his Democratic opponent, incumbent Tom DiNapoli.

Wilson told the Post’s Fred Dicker during a TALK 1300 interview this morning that he is sticking to his pledge not to formally back any candidate who might end up in an office covered by the comptroller’s audit power – be it governor, state assemblyman or senator.

“I think you need to maintain independence,” Wilson said, explaining that he wants to be a comptroller who “doesn’t owe aything to anyone” if he’s elected, and adding: “I think Mr. DiNapoli’s tenure shows the sad history of someone who owes something to the Legislature.”

(Oddly, that runs counter to what state GOP Chairman Ed Cox has been saying – as recently as last night during a CapTon interview he was insisting that Wilson will be campaigning with Paladino and embracing him).

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Rosie Perez On ‘Whatever Creams Your Twinkie’

Fight Back NY, the PAC established to take out senators who voted “no” on the legalization of same-sex marriage, has released a new Web video featuring the tough-talking Brooklyn-born actress Rosie Perez.

There’s a number of rather risque/amusing lines in this video, including the one I’ve highlighted in the headline. But on a more serious note, Perez singles out a particular Bronx senator who has been outspoken in his opposition to gay marriage:

“I actually have a message for one senator in particular. Senator Ruben Diaz? I’m extremely disappointed with your position on this matter. With all due respect, sir, your stand represents a lack of justice and equality on this issue. Please take note: You are not speaking for the majority of New York Latinos.”

Diaz was one of Fight Back’s top targets this fall, but easily won re-election against his primary opponent, Charlie Ramos, on Sept. 14. He was not, however, pleased by the loss of his “amigo”, Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., who was ousted by Gustavo Rivera.

NYFG Goes After Oppenheimer (Updated)

The conservative PAC New Yorkers for Growth is trying to portray Democratic Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer as incompetent by circulating video footage of her struggling to answer questions about $23 billion in education funding in the 2009-10 budget.

The clip shows an obviously flustered Oppenheimer, who chairs the Education Committee, being grilled by GOP Sen. John Flanagan and coached by a staffer who is heard feeding her information in a stage whisper from somewhere off screen.

“This video is uncomfortable for everybody to watch. It demonstrates to the taxpayers of Westchester County what is going on with their state senator in Albany,” said NYFG Executive Director Nick Terzulli.

“Westchester families pay the highest property taxes in America, get the least school aid, and need a senator with command of the facts and issues. This video demonstrates that Senator Oppenheimer has no such command.”

Interestingly, NYFG was (at least until recently) repped by former Larchmont Mayor Liz Feld, who ran an unsuccessful challenge to Oppenheimer in 2008. (Feld was also one of a number of Republicans who considered, and ultimately took a pass on, running against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand this fall).

The senator is now being challenged by Republican newcomer Bob Cohen, who launched his second TV ad of the cycle earlier this week. Some Democrats are privately expressing concern about this race, but there hasn’t been any public polling of the 37th SD race yet.

UPDATE: The Oppenheimer campaign sent a response, which appears in full after the jump.

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