Paladino Dings DiNapoli (Updated)

GOP gubernatorial Carl Paladino added yet another elected official to his list of public enemies: Democratic state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

The Buffalo businessman, who has called Gov. David Paterson a “wimp”, former Gov. George Pataki a “degenerate idiot” and his Democratic opponent, AG Andrew Cuomo, an egomaniac, yesterday took a swipe at the appointed comptroller, questioning his stewardship of the state pension fund.

In response to a question about how much campaign cash he might spend (he has said he’ll invest $10 million of his own money into his statewide bid, but is also fundraising), Paladino replied:

“I’d like to raise $500-$600 million if possible, you know. I can then invest it for the people of the state of New York and probably get a much better return (than) DiNapoli is getting. So, yeah.”

Ironically, Paladino’s fellow statewide Republican hopeful, comptroller candidate Harry Wilson, has been calling DiNapoli’s pension fund management into question, too.

But Wilson has so far declined to endorse Paladino. Instead, the former hedge fund manager has been linking himself to Cuomo and reportedly might even be interested in crossing party lines to back the Democratic candidate now that Paladino is heading the GOP ticket.

UPDATE: DiNapoli campaign spokesman Eric Sumberg sent a response, which appears after the jump.

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Gaga Won’t Stop Calling Schumer, Gillibrand On DADT

Lady Gaga takes on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in this Web video, calling the push to end it “a continuum of the every-present equal rights movement.”

Toward the end of the video, which appears to have been organized by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Gaga tries to call the offices of both Sens. Chuck Schumer (she gets transferred and then receives no answer) and Kirsten Gillibrand (she gets an answering machine).

“I have called both of the senators that operate in my district,” the singer says.” I will not stop calling until I reach them and I can leave them this message: I am a constituent of the senator. My name is, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, also known as Lady Gaga.”

“I’m calling to ask the senator to vote with Senators Harry Reid and Carl Levin to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and oppose John McCain’s “shameless filibuster.” We need to do this for our gay and lesbian soldiers and finally repeal don’t ask don’t tell. Try calling after 9 a.m. tomorrow morning. I’ll be on the phone, too. Thank you. God bless.”

Gillibrand has made repeal of DADT a personal crusade since not long after she was elevated by Gov. David Paterson to take Hillary Clinton’s old seat last winter. Schumer told attendees at an ESPA dinner last fall that he would be one of the first co-sponsors of a measure to end the policy. Reid filed a motion for cloture on the defense authorization bill yesterday, which means the fight should come to a head next week.

(NOTE: Headline fixed. Thanks commenter).

Here And Now

AG Andrew Cuomo suggested he, not Carl Paladino, is the gubernatorial candidate who really embodies the ideals of the Tea Party movement.

Cuomo didn’t have much to say about his GOP opponent – or anything else, for that matter – but did reveal he is “petless.”

Crain’s poll: Is Paladino good or bad for Cuomo?

Advocates for HIV-positive poor people are worried Paladino’s win will be bad for them by pushing Cuomo to the right.

Former Gov. George Pataki is willing to take some verbal abuse from Paladino to keep Cuomo out of office.

Hank Sheinkopf thinks Paladino is “the receptacle of blue collar, Catholic anger and he should not be under-estimated.” Heck, he might even win.

Clyde Haberman probes the similarities between Paladino and Grover Cleveland.

Michael Caputo on why his candidate succeeded where Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy failed: “Anger in 2010 is the most unifying message in America. And Carl is not afraid to tell it like it is.”

Cuomo will raise campaign cash on Paladino’s home turf on Sept. 24.

Rick Lazio’s running mate, Greg Edwards, will make a decision today or tomorrow about running as Paladino’s No. 2.

Neither Dan Donovan nor Harry Wilson want anything to do with Paladino.

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Apology Open Thread…

Dear faithful Capital Tonight viewers:

The CT team apologizes for the technical difficulties during tonight’s call-in. Your calls were insightful and poignant and we wish we could have been able to provide the forum to share your thoughts with your neighbors across the state.

We did, however, get some great emails! I’m posting some of them below and if you want to continue to share your thoughts, please comment on this post. We hope to bring you another call-in special once our tech gurus sort out our phone issues. Thanks, all!

Georgia writes:

I agree with Carl on abortions, I believe just as he does!  I don’t believe in gay rights either and would never vote for anyone who believes in these issues. I would never vote for Andrew  as he isn’t man enough to step up and let the people know where he stands on issues.  Carl is more fit to run the state then Andrew . Carl tells it how it really is Andrew acts like he is better then the people and that he has got this race won without a debate.  I don’t like his father and I don’t like him either.

M. Burke writes:

For those of us in WNY we know Carl the successful businessman, and we’ve heard his controversial statements on the news.  Carl is not focused on social issues – he’s focused on economics and opportunities for the state.  He’s not polished and he will be tripped up by the media if they focus on the “wedge-issues.”   I’m pro-choice and his stance on abortion will not sway me; the emails will not sway me.

Carl is asking for one four-year term to expose the corruption in Albany and set in motion the process to fix NYS.  For me Carl does not have to have a plan on how to fix it, he just needs to expose it and then the plan can be developed.

It will be great if Cuomo does accept his call for debates – the deeper issues of Albany’s entrenchment and how broken this state is and how complicit many of our elected officials are, is what needs to be addressed.

Steve writes:

One fear that I have is that there is so much dissatisfaction with “politics as usual” in New York as well as Washington that people will vote for ANY idiot as long as they are not incumbents or established politicians regardless of whetheror not they are qualified to be in office.

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Brooks For Paladino

As some Republicans can’t distance themselves fast enough from their controversial gubernatorial nominee, Carl Paladino, one GOP elected official who was once floated as a potential statewide candidate herself isn’t shying away from the Buffalo businessman.

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks was part of a group of 20 elected officials who met behind closed doors in Buffalo with Paladino today, YNN’s Casey Bortnick reports.

At that event, Brooks offered a formal endorsement of Paladino’s bid to defeat Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo in November, according to her spokesman Noah Lebowitz.

Brooks endorsed former Long Island Rep. Rick Lazio for governor back in February. Lazio, as you’ll recall, is still in the race – albeit just on the Conservative line.

In April, anonymous sources leaked Brooks’ name as a potential running mate for Cuomo. But that was shot down rather rapidly by both the AG’s campaign and the county executive herself.

Brooks is a rising star in the GOP, however, and her name often comes up when when various elected offices become available. She also decided against a run for former Rep. Eric Massa’s seat in NY-29 this year.


Eliot Spitzer said nice things about Eric Schneiderman (who wants his old job, two jobs ago) and Tom DiNapoli (whom he once deemed “totally unqualified”).

Spitzer and former Gov. George Pataki had a client moment during this morning’s WSJ forum.

A little miracle called…Schenectady?!

Dan Donovan is going to hold regular statewide Friday conference calls with reporters.

Apparently Kathleen Rice doesn’t have the same “sitting DA can’t endorse” problem that Donovan has. (Nice catch).

Hiram Monserrate will challenge his former chief of staff, NYC Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, in 2013, according to Gerson Borrero.

The Cohn-Restler district leader race in Brooklyn is a nail-biter.

As of this morning, Eric Schneiderman still hadn’t managed to catch with Cuomo, but was “trading calls” with him.

A senior citizen group released an ad attacking Rep. Tim Bishop.

Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr.’s concession speech sounded a lot like the preparation for a comeback.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating the awarding of a $50 million contract by New York City in January to Election Systems & Software.

Sen. Darrel Aubertine slammed SUNY.

Mayor Bloomberg was in Rhode Island to endorse Sen. Lincoln Chafee for governor.

Rep. Anthony Weiner on the Zadroga bill: “I wrote the bill…the bill and I are one.”

Bloomberg is on a crusade against illegal Indian cigarette sales.

Here’s Paladino talking to me on CapTon last night about Cuomo’s “ego.”

Paladino? Paladino, Who?

Here’s AG Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner, making his first public comments – such as they are – on Carl Paladino since the Buffalo businessman’s big victory in Tuesday’s GOP primary.

“I don’t know Mr. Paladino and I don’t think my characterization is all that relevant or appropriate, you know? 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.”

Cuomo eventually did get around to addressing one specific thing about Paladino: The e-mails he forwarded.

“Racist and bigoted are loaded concepts and loaded words,” the AG said. “I believe he himself said that they were at a minimum inappropriate. And I don’t remember the exact words that Mr. Paladino used to characterize them…They’re his e-mails, I’ll leave it to his characterization. And for other peopel to make.”

“I am not, you know, I want to talk to the people of the state, about what I’ve done as attorney general, what I would do as governor, and how I would get it done.”

As to whether – and when – he might be endorsing Sen. Eric Schneiderman, the winner of the five-way Democratic AG primary, Cuomo said: “That will be something we’ll address down the road. Ditto for state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, although as long as the AG’s pay-to-play pension fund probe continues, I would be very surprised to see him back the comptroller.

Pataki’s First Target: John Hall

Former Gov. George Pataki’s Revere America PAC just released its first ad in what will eventually be a nationwide effort to target members of Congress who voted “yes” on so-called “ObamaCare”, and the lucky winner is…Democratic Rep. John Hall (NY-19).

The spot will begin to run tomorrow and remain on the air for the next four weeks throughout the Hudson Valley district.

“Those who voted for the bloated healthcare bill will now feel the heat for supporting a bill the American people didn’t want,” Pataki said in a press release. “We will take this ad straight to the districts of those who support this destructive bill.”

Earlier this week, a Kos poll showed Hall two percentage points behind his GOP challenger, Nan Hayworth, with 14 percent of respondents undecided. The congressman was also just three points ahead of the unknown, virtually unfunded Tea Party candidate Hayworth defeated in the GOP primary, Neil Di Carlo.

Democratic leaders have been worried for some time about Hall, particularly since he’s been having trouble fundraising and Hayworth is largely self-funding her campaign. Former President Bill Clinton will be headlining a fundraiser for the congressman this weekend.

Here’s the ad script:

“Congressman Hall voted for Obama care – government run health care. It’s a bad plan. Government bureaucrats will benefit. Seniors will get hurt. Costs will go up. Care will go down. Longer waits in doctors offices. Your right to keep your own doctor may be taken away. It’s a plan we didn’t want and don’t need, but Hall voted for it anyway. Defeat Congressman Hall. Revere America is responsible for the content of this advertising.”

Donovan’s Dodge

Staten Island DA Dan Donovan paid a visit to the Capitol earlier today, and not only refused to discuss a gubernatorial endorsement, but also declined to reveal who he would vote for in November for fear of having that misinterpreted as an endorsement.

Donovan reiterated that the state DA’s association, which he used to head, prohibits sitting DAs from endorsing candidates in political campaigns.

“That was the party’s choice. The people who voted on Tuesday chose Mr. Paladino to represent the Republican Party, and that was their choice. The Democratic Party decided to endorse, or select, Eric Schneiderman, as the candidate for attorney general. That’s an entire state’s party that decides. Not one individual.”

Donovan did say that he “doesn’t have the same opinion of Governor Pataki as Mr. Paladino.”

(The Buffalo businessman called the former Republican governor a “degenerate idiot”, which didn’t stop Pataki from saying this morning that he’s inclined to support Paladino as the GOP nominee – provided he believes the candidate’s policies are good for New York).

Asked if he would appear with Paladino on the campaign trail, Donovan replied:

“There are times when we have been in town together, there are times when he’s a day ahead of me; there’s nothing planned together, and I plan to run my campaign and do my events…I have no plans of doing anything with anybody…I don’t want people getting confused or having a muddle about what my campaign is about.”

Govs Critique Carl

Former Govs. Eliot Spitzer and George Pataki and current Gov. David Paterson were asked this morning at a WSJ-sponsored forum for their thoughts on GOP gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino, and, rather ironically, the nicest comments came from the man Paladino called a “degenerate idiot” in today’s DN.

(That would be Pataki, the lone Republican in the trio). Paladino also dismissed Paterson as a “wimp” and “pathetic”, which caused the governor to give back as good as he got.

- Gov. David Paterson: “I don’t think he is fit for public service. He transferred e-mails back and forth that were racist, homophobic misogynist. There was a plane in one of the e-mails, crashing in Africa and it said: Run, ni–er, run. These are the kinds of things we don’t need in politics.”

- Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer: “It may be good therapy for him to vent, but it is not useful politics. It is not useful discourse, and it’s not going to advance the cause.”

- Former Gov. George Pataki: “It’s not about me, it’s about the future of this state…Obviously, I’m not pleased to hear that the man called me that, and we’ve heard some other comments about some of his inflammatory rhetoric.”

“But ultimately, it’s about who would be the best governor for the state of New York. And I’m prepared to listen to his agenda, and, if in fact, he has the agenda and expresses it in a way that turns anger into policies that I think would make this a better state, then I’d certainly be inclined to support him, despite what he may have called me.”