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Republicans Run From Paladino Comments

Republicans Run From Paladino Comments


Republican candidates for statewide political office in New York moved quickly Monday to distance themselves from antigay remarks made by Carl Paladino, the loose-lipped gubernatorial candidate at the top of their ticket.

Attorney general candidate Dan Donovan and controller candidate Harry Wilson wasted no time in issuing statements to put space between themselves and Paladino, who told ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders Sunday, among other homophobic statements, that children should not be "brainwashed" into accepting homosexuality.

In fact, Donovan and Wilson, who support civil unions but not marriage equality, released statements around the same time as or even earlier than their respective Democratic opponents, state senator Eric Schneiderman and state controller Thomas DiNapoli, both of whom roundly denounced the Paladino remarks.

"Any statements of this nature are offensive," said Donovan, who has been endorsed by the Log Cabin Republicans. "We should be fostering a dialogue on tolerance. These statements do not achieve that, and I do not agree with them."

Wilson said, "I do not condone intolerance of any kind and categorically reject these hurtful statements. Furthermore, I strongly urge every candidate for statewide office to focus solely, as I have, on the problems of our state, particularly our massive and growing fiscal crisis."

Both Wilson and Donovan have already indicated they would not endorse Paladino, the Buffalo businessman who rode the train of Tea Party disaffection to an upset primary win over Republican rival Rick Lazio last month.

Since then, Donovan in particular has come under pressure from Democrats for being slow to criticize earlier anti-Semitic, , sexist statements by Paladino. Donovan has argued that his position as Staten Island district attorney prohibited him from appearing to take sides in political contests.

Meanwhile, New York state Democratic party chairman Jay Jacobs called on state Republican chairman Ed Cox to disavow the Paladino comments.

"Paladino's campaign is about dividing New Yorkers and sowing hatred," said Jacobs in a statement. "That's exactly the opposite of what we need right now, as the tragic bias attacks we've seen in New York attest. No one should give cover to Paladino and his hateful rhetoric. The Republican chairman, Ed Cox, needs to state unequivocally that Paladino's bigoted comments don't reflect the New York GOP and disavow Paladino in the strongest language possible."

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