BINGHAMTON - Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino swung through four upstate towns Friday to talk about creating jobs for this economically depressed region and to tout a new pledge to cut the state income tax each year he's in office. But he started the day with an apparent swipe at residents of Manhattan, 180 miles away.
In a speech before the board of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, Paladino said he was happy to have left behind the crowded streets of New York City.
"It's just, it's mind-boggling," he said of Manhattan. "The people, everybody looking straight ahead, sort of catatonic. A very difficult place to live."
During the Republican primary, Paladino had disparaged Manhattan as being full of "smug, self-important, pampered liberal elitists." The Buffalo developer had tempered his remarks during the general election until Friday, calling the borough "wonderful" a few weeks ago.
Paladino also talked about a new advertisement his campaign had developed criticizing Democratic rival Andrew Cuomo for giving immunity to Democratic fundraiser Steve Rattner for his role in a pension fund investigation. Paladino told Broome County Republicans at a fundraising event yesterday that the ad already had begun airing, but his campaign manager, Michael Caputo, said the candidate "misspoke" and there was no ad yet.
Visiting Binghamton, Owego, Corning and Watkins Glen - all of which have struggled as manufacturing jobs vanished - Paladino talked up his plan to allow drilling for natural gas west of Binghamton, which he said would create thousands of jobs. It could also cause problems for drinking water, environmentalists say.
Paladino's pledge Friday to cut the state income tax every year goes further than previous promises; Caputo called it a "goal." Paladino has said he would cut the income tax 10 percent in his first year in office and has said future tax cuts would probably be a mix of property tax relief and cuts elsewhere.
The millionaire disputed a series of polls showing him losing to Cuomo by up to 37 percentage points. The latest, a Marist College survey yesterday, showed Paladino losing 60 to 37. He said he was concerned the surveys would depress Republican turnout.
Paladino pointed instead to a Rasmussen Reports poll showing him losing by 14 points. And he said his own pollster, Tony Fabrizio, has him down by 10 points.