In the course of a heated political race, storylines change frequently; politicians treat their gaffes like mass hallucinations, or a bad bender they shouldn't be reminded of. One week, they may be accusing their opponent of extramarital affairs, and nearly coming to blows with reporters, but the next week it's all about the economy. Carl Paladino is certainly trying his darnedest this week to change his rage-filled storyline, blaming Cuomo for starting the negative campaigning: “We’ve left that gutter politics. We’re interested in talking about the issues,” he said on the Today Show, a week after gleefully rolling around in a mud-caked gutter.

Even though Matt Lauer is unsure whether Paladino's a "bridge builder," he is trying: Paladino has been putting up the best charm offensive he can muster this week, making frequent television appearances (you can see the Today Show one below) and keeping the curse-laden confrontations down to a minimum. But just like his 80-pound pit bull Duke, who campaigns with him, Paladino can't help but take a bite out of his opponents legs. During an interview with Crain's Business, Paladino slammed Sheldon Silver again, calling him a criminal (without any particular proof), and then defended the harsh language which had got him into trouble to begin with: "They try to define me by rules that they created. I don't play their game, all right? I won't play that definition that they want. I'll play my own. I bring my own set of rules to the game, all right." He also revealed that he voted for Eliot Spitzer for governor in 2006, and let slip that he thinks Cuomo is "a real phony."

As Steven Greenberg, a Siena poll spokesman told the Times, Paladino is shooting himself in the foot: “While Paladino has quickly become very well known among New York voters, it is not in a good way.” You know you've crossed some line when the voice of reason is Bill O'Reilly. Appearing on his talk show earlier this week, O'Reilly attempted an anger intervention, warning Paladino that he was turning off voters with his baseball-bat rhetoric. Paladino replied defiantly that the people of NY had been maligned, "and I’m probably one of the few people with the intestinal fortitude to go and take on these demons in Albany and do the right thing.” O'Reilly surrendered his point: “Alright. Don’t hit anybody, O.K.?”