Spin Cycle

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino said Monday that a group raising money on his behalf should have used more “discretion” when it aired an online appeal that used D-Day imagery and called Democrat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo a “tyrant.”

But Astorino said he wouldn’t return the money raised by the effort. He also noted that Cuomo once said: “I am the government.”

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The one-day, D-Day themed effort by the Rob4NY.com blog, ran Friday and featured footage of soldiers, their graves and written narration that said: “Honor their sacrifice.”

As the photo transitioned to two pictures of Cuomo, the graphic reads: “Remove tyrants."  As of 5 p.m. Friday, it had raised $14,000.

“I think discretion would have been a lot better,” Astorino, the Westchester County executive, said on The Capitol Pressroom, a public radio program. “But it is Andrew Cuomo who said ‘I am the government’ and Andrew Cuomo who said if you don’t agree with him on social certain social issues, you have no place in New York.”

Cuomo uttered the I-am-the-government line in 2011 when discussing a poll about New Yorkers’ perception about state government, prompting one newspaper to produce a photo illustration of the governor as Louis XIV of France. Last year, Cuomo said that “extreme” conservatives who didn’t support gay marriage, abortion rights and other issues “had no place” in the state; his aides later said he meant hard-core conservatives couldn’t win election in New York.

Cuomo hasn't directly commented on the ads. A Democrat spokesman called it outrageous.

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Astorino, on the radio program, returned to criticism he’s made before: that ads touting Cuomo’s “tax free” plan amounts to a political commercial for the governor. The plan allows companies -- and their employees -- to avoid paying state taxes if they locate in certain economic zones affiliated with state universities.

“When he gives back that money, then we’ll talk,” Astorino said.