Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Republican opponent Rob Astorino courted voters at New York City's Columbus Day Parade Monday, but not without trading barbs on the upcoming gubernatorial race.
Before the parade, Astorino's campaign attacked Cuomo's plans to visit Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republican, calling the trip a "panic and pander tour."
Cuomo defended the trip in remarks to reporters at the parade, saying, "I would like to get there before Election Day as a sign of respect to those two communities that I've worked with for a very long time."
Along the parade route on Fifth Avenue, the two Italian-American candidates often stopped to shake hands and pose for photos with eager spectators.
"The parades are a great way to celebrate the diversity of New York," said Cuomo, who walked with his 17-year-old daughter Michaela and other supporters.
Astorino, the Westchester County executive, marched several blocks behind Cuomo, describing it as "a great day."
Over the weekend, Cuomo had told reporters he wanted to visit the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and meet with officials there.
Astorino released an email Monday calling the trip an "insulting attempt to make [Cuomo] seem engaged in Hispanic affairs."
Cuomo's campaign responded with a statement by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who said "the millions of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in New York State always appreciate the governor's visits to our ancestral homes."
Diaz added: "The more we examine Rob Astorino's record, the easier it is to see that his conservative policies would be dangerous not just to Latinos, but all New Yorkers."
Also Monday, Astorino's campaign sent a fundraising email to supporters, in which former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Cuomo "a typical corrupt New York politician."
Asked by reporters about Romney's comments, Cuomo noted that Romney had lost New York in his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2012.
"New Yorkers have already commented on Mitt Romney," said Cuomo.