At breakfast, Paladino calls Silver a criminal


BY Andrea Riquier

Carl Paladino, the upstart Republican candidate for governor, made the campaign a bit more personal Tuesday morning when he called Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver a “criminal.”

Paladino has criticized the state legislature frequently, and has often been quoted as saying he’d like to bring a baseball bat to Albany. But his comments on Tuesday went a step further.

At a breakfast hosted by Crain’s, Paladino said of Silver, “The man is a criminal, and don’t make him look like anything else.”

Later, however, Paladino admitted that Silver had never been charged of any crime, let alone convicted.

In a statement, Speaker Silver’s office said, “It is unfortunate that New Yorkers are being forced to endure the insulting and baseless hectoring of the Republican candidate for governor. I will not get into the gutter with Mr. Paladino, nor dignify his comments with a response. Rather, I will let New Yorkers judge his fitness for public office.”

At the Crain’s breakfast, Paladino detailed some of his plans should he win the gubernatorial race, which include slashing spending and privatizing many state agencies. For example, he would cut $20 billion from the state’s Medicare budget, dismantle the Metropolitan Transporation Authority, and change the state employee’s current pension system to a defined-contribution plan. Overall, Paladino wants to cut state taxes by 10 percent and the state budget by 20 percent.

Recent polls indicate that New Yorkers favor Paladino’s opponent, Democrat Andrew Cuomo, by as many as 20 percentage points. Paladino scorned Cuomo, son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo, as being part of the “friends and family club.”

And he claims that his anger appeals to disillusioned voters.

“I reflect the frustration of the people, and I will continue to reflect that in my own kind and gentle way,” said the self proclaimed Tea Party candidate.