Carl Paladino's gubernatorial campaign had hit some serious publicity snafus in the past couple weeks. So he sought to press the reset button, and readjust his campaign's focus toward issues instead of love children. It was supposed to show critics that Carl was paying attention and able to tone down the baseball bat rhetoric (which many of his supporters are questioning). But in his televised address yesterday, he skipped the mea culpa entirely to justify why his anger gets the better of him: "What I meant to express in my anger was simply this—does the media ask Andrew such questions? Andrew's prowess is legendary."
And right there, you have Paladino in a nut shell. He makes an arguably legitimate point about the media's coverage of his children, but can't stop himself from following it with a petty, unnecessary swipe. From what was almost certainly a scripted speech, he made the decision to remark that Andrew Cuomo is a sex God. As Paladino's newest archenemy, Post reporter Fred Dicker, puts it, "he has the biggest case of political Tourette's syndrome ever to appear on the New York electoral landscape."
One can argue that Dicker is biased in this campaign, and has slanted pro-Cuomo, but how can you argue with that when you compare it to the blunders of Paladino? A line from last week's episode of Mad Men, about ad executive Roger Sterling, seems eerily appropriate here: “Lee Garner Jr. never took you seriously, because you never took yourself seriously.” Substitute the media (and the NY voting public) for Lee Garner Jr., and it fits the bill. Many first-person accounts have implied that Cuomo is a true bully behind-the-scenes, but Paladino continues to shoot himself in the foot by providing the media with gaffe after goof after gaffe time and again. By taking up so much attention with his antics, he is the one keeping the focus away from Cuomo.
So though he did his best to talk about some of the issues that actually matter to voters choosing a Governor, his great reset plan failed overall, because Paladino isn't ready to change his tune. He proved that with his completely tactless "prowess" comment; his campaign isn't much different today than it was last week. Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long, forced to support Paladino because Rick Lazio dropped out, summed up the frustration of many Republicans when asked about the comment: "I didn't say I agreed with everything he said."