Open Thread: Paladino, The Press, and Charges of Adultery

The New York political community is buzzing over a confrontation caught on tape between gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino and New York Post State Editor Fred Dicker. Dicker confronted Paladino over his insinuation that Andrew Cuomo had an extramarital affair. Updates below: Brian Lehrer's take, Paladino response, and the latest on the allegations at the heart of the confrontation.

WNYC's Azi Paybarah reports on The Empire:

When reporters confronted Paladino seeking evidence, Paladino declined, and went on the offensive, declaring his own daughter – who was the product of an extra-marital affair – off limits to the media.

You send another goon to my daughter’s house and I’ll take you out, buddy,” Paladino said to New York Post state editor Fred Dicker. “You’re his bird-dog.”

Paladino’s campaign manager went further, telling Dicker flatly “You’re working for Cuomo.”

Our own Brian Lehrer adds his reaction:

We don’t know who provoked whom before the camera rolled, but to my eye, in the clip as we have it, Fred Dicker comes out looking more like the aggressor here. Paladino and his people don't exactly look like statesmen either, making Cuomo adultery charges without substantiation, but Paladino walks away and Dicker bears in.

I'm not sure it will even be a political minus that Paladino says he'd "take you out" for photographing his ten year old - less an actual physical threat than a protective parental instinct. Michael Dukakis lost the 1988 presidential election partly for failing to show emotion when asked about a hypothetical rape or murder of his wife. Not that a photographer is the moral equivalent, but Paladino probably wins this mano a mano moment. Of course, he's not running against Fred Dicker...

Governor Paterson had this to say on WOR radio this morning:

It sounds to me as if he’s having trouble coping with the pressure that it takes to be a governor or to run for governor.

The Paladino campaign sent out this defense of Carl Paladino's today:

The New York Post sent a photographer to the Buffalo home where Carl Paladino’s 10-year-old daughter lives with her mother. This
photographer attempted to take photos of the child through the windows and subsequently attempted to follow the girl to a playground.

We believe this conduct puts Carl Paladino’s daughter in harm’s way, susceptible to kidnapping or sexual predators. This behavior by The
New York Post and their senior political editor Fred Dicker is unacceptable. Endangering the safety of a 10 year-old child is repugnant.

Carl Paladino is passionate about the need to clean up the mess in Albany. The only thing he is more passionate about is his family. Carl
is deeply concerned about the privacy of his children and grandchildren.

Paladino now claims that he was never accusing Cuomo of extramarital affairs. He told the Buffalo News:

I'm sick and tired of people asking me about if I've had affairs. I was talking to [Politico.com] and said 'why don't you ask Andrew Cuomo if he has had extramartial affairs. It's not that I was accusing him.

Brian Lehrer's reaction to this latest piece of information:

Paladino’s admission that he had no evidence of a Cuomo affair puts the video in a whole new light. Instead of looking like a man defending his daughter’s honor against aggressive tabloid paparazzi, he now looks like a lying thug perpetrating a phony smear campaign.

Watch the video below, and give us your reaction. How much should a candidate's private life be part of the debate? Who was over the line, Paladino or Dicker?  Chime in, the comment

Update: Several versions of the video have been recently taken off youtube. If the video below does not play, here is a search that will likely yield results.

Video courtesy of Capital Tonight