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Using a D-Day fundraising theme, a group supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino calls for honoring the soldiers’ sacrifice by “removing tyrants” such as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
Democrats called the ad “disgusting” and “deplorable.”
The online video announces a D-Day “money bomb,” a term campaigns have begun using in recent years to describe a 24-hour burst of fundraising. It features still photos of the famous invasion of Normandy, soldiers’ graves, dramatic music and word graphics, though no narrator.
"Honor their sacrifice . . . They fought together as brothers-in-arms. They died together,” the message says. "To them we have a solemn obligation.”
As the photo transitions to two pictures of Cuomo, the graphic reads: “Remove tyrants."
An Astorino spokeswoman said the campaign is not affiliated with the group that posted the fundraising message online at Rob4NY.com. But she didn’t denounce the ad, which Democrats saw as comparing Cuomo to Hitler.
“We're enormously grateful for whatever outside, grassroots help we can get, but we would always prefer that discretion be used in language and imagery,” Astorino spokeswoman Jessica Proud said in an email. “We have passed along our feelings about this, along with our thank you's for the support.”
A Cuomo campaign spokesman blasted the Republican rival.
"We share the bipartisan outrage at Rob Astorino's small mindedness and ignorance at politicizing this sacred event," said Democratic spokesman Peter Kauffman.
Democrat officials also directed questions to allies of the governor who had served in the military -- such as Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
“This video is one of the most deplorable things I have ever seen in politics,” Bellone, a Democrat who served in the Army, said in an email. “The actions of Rob Astorino and his supporters are not only an insult to all who have served our great nation, but to every American. This video is disgusting. To attempt to capitalize and raise money for a political campaign off the sacrifices of our veterans is inexcusable. This website should be shut down, the donations refused, and Rob Astorino should issue a solemn apology immediately.”
The Rob4NY.com website describes itself as a “grassroots effort, dedicated to the elimination of Common Core and the UnSAFE Act,” referring to the controversial academic standards and a new gun-control law Cuomo enacted after the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre. During gun-law protests at the State Capitol, a few opponents have carried signs likening Cuomo to Hitler.
The online ad wasn’t raising that much money. As of 4:30 p.m., it had generated around $14,000.