Paladino, Post reporter in heated exchange

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino arrives

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino arrives at the New York State Conservative Party meeting in Colonie, N.Y., Wednesday. (Sept. 29, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

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BOLTON LANDING - Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino nearly came to blows Wednesday night with a New York Post reporter over photographers staking out the home of the candidate's grade-school daughter.

Paladino exploded after the Post's Fred Dicker asked him about Paladino's claim that Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo was unfaithful in his former marriage to Kerry Kennedy. Paladino replied, "I want to know why you sent your goons after my daughter . . . You send another goon to my daughter's house and I'll take you out, buddy!"

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As both men's tempers frayed and expletives were uttered, Paladino campaign manager Michael Caputo stepped between them. Paladino then spoke to a group of business leaders here on the shores of Lake George.

Paladino refused to answer reporters' questions afterward. But Caputo said Paladino meant no harm to Dicker and noted the Post has not published photos of the daughter.

Caputo said Paladino was responding to his daughter's tears and anxiety about photographers outside her Buffalo-area home. The girl was fathered by Paladino out of wedlock but has been fully embraced by his wife and older children.

Paladino has repeatedly warned the media to stay away from her, going so far as to meet with reporters in Buffalo to discuss the subject. Caputo Wednesday night repeated his threat to deny access to the candidate if a media outlet broke that edict. "I expect you to police yourself. We are talking about a child here."

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Paladino first raised the issue of Cuomo's fidelity in an interview with Newsday Monday, an allegation he repeated to Politico Tuesday. Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night but earlier this week when the affair claim was raised, he said, "This is just more irrelevant ranting from Carl Paladino."

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