Buffalo businessman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino is hoping to ride this "Ground Zero" mosque outrage all the way to the Governor's mansion. According to his new TV commercial—which will air in every market in New York State except Buffalo, where he's already popular—once elected he will make good on his promise to use eminent domain to seize the property at 45-47 Park Place, the site of a proposed Islamic center and mosque. Can he legally do it? Who cares, it's a campaign promise! Watch:
Palidino is reportedly spending in the six-figures to run the ad, while his Republican opponent Rick Lazio has been reduced to ranting on radio, and sending angry letters to President Obama, who he wishes would "engage in this issue of national importance." On the other end of the spectrum, today a group of Jewish leaders rallied today in support of the mosque near the World Trade Center. "We need this Islamic center to preach love and respect in contrast to those that preach hate and destruction," Rabbi Richard Jacobs of the Westchester Reform Temple told NY1. "Here in this place, just a few yards from horrific pain and loss, let this Islamic center be a beacon of light and hope to our aching world."
But according to a new Siena Research Institute poll, New Yorker State residents oppose the Islamic center and mosque 61 to 26 percent. "Large majorities of all New Yorkers, every party, region and age give a thumbs-down to the Cordoba House Mosque being built near the Ground Zero site," says Dr. Don Levy, SRI’s Director, in a press release [pdf]. “But only just over half of all New Yorkers, even city residents say they have been following the news about the proposed mosque closely.” But why bother paying attention, when they can just listen to their gut?