In yet another exhibition of his smash-mouth style of politics, Carl Paladino, New York's Tea Party-backed Republican candidate for governor, wrote a letter to his Democratic opponent Andrew Cuomo over the weekend that called Cuomo "arrogant" and "egotistical" and claimed he lacked the "cojones" to go head-to-head in a debate.
"Andrew, for the first time in your life be a man," Paladino wrote in the letter. "Don't hide behind daddy's coattails even though he pulled strings to advance your career every step of your way. Come out and debate like a man."
Paladino aimed his below-the-belt shots at Cuomo's supposed failure to show his "cojones" in facing questions about his time at HUD and his connections to embattled Congressman Charlie Rangel.
On Monday, New York State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs defended Cuomo, who has previously announced that he is open to a debate:
Andrew Cuomo has said he's open to debates and is contacting other campaigns but it seems like Carl is melting down again. We'd be happy to debate Carl Paladino just as soon as he finishes the debate going on inside his head. Is he Mr. Tea Party or is he a hypocrite that trades campaign cash for multi-million dollar state leases? Is he [as] racist [and] misogynist as his emails suggest he is or is he just a high school boy in the body of a 64 year old man? Judging by the way he's conducted himself during this campaign, it seems as though he's all of the above.
Read the full text of Paladino's letter:
It's difficult to understand why you, a polished veteran campaigner, scion of a political dynasty and king-designate, would fear a simple businessman from Buffalo, who candidly has never been in a debate in his life -- except maybe in a bar.
Frankly, I dont think you have the cojones to face me and the other candidates in a open debate. I dont think you have the cojones to answer direct questions regarding the mistakes you made at HUD in pushing a sub-prime mortgage scheme that cost taxpayers $2.4 trillion dollars and cost most New Yorkers the value of their 401-Ks.
I dont think you have the cojones to answer questions about why you embraced ethically-challenged Charlie Rangel while pledging to clean up corruption. I don't think you haved the cojones to defend why some were prosecuted in the Hevesi Pension scandal while others - including many of your key supporters - were not.
So Andrew, for the first time in your life be a man. Don't hide behind daddy's coattails even though he pulled strings to advance your career every step of your way. Come out and debate like a man.