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Strategists say Paladino is hurting campaign

Gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino at the New York

Gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino at the New York City Columbus Day Parade. Photo credit: Alejandra Villa/Newsday Photo Credit: Alejandra Villa/Newsday

Carl Paladino’s runaway mouth could be devouring any shot he has of becoming governor, observers from both parties said Monday.

A day after saying he doesn’t want his children “brainwashed” into thinking homosexuality is OK, he added fuel to the fire by expressing annoyance at crotch-grinding antics by men in “little Speedos” at the Gay Pride Parade. He even chastised his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo, for taking his kids to the June march.

His new remarks Monday had some strategists saying he’s talking his campaign off a cliff.

“It was hard to motivate the Democratic base before, but [Paladino] is the gift that keeps on giving,” independent political analyst Jerry Kremer said.

Added Democratic political analyst Dan Gerstein: “You never say never in politics, but I think the race is over.”

With three weeks to go, recent polls have shown Paladino down by double digits.

Republican strategist Mike Edelman said Paladino, 64, is squandering his primary-win momentum and Tea Party support by failing to frame his campaign around the economy and the gridlock in Albany.

Paladino said he is not homophobic and that he has a gay nephew and would recruit gays to serve in his administration.

“I say that unequivocally I will be a governor for all the people of the state of New York and I’ve never moved off of that position," Paladino said on NBC’s “Today Show.”

But he continued to stand behind earlier statements.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was among several city officials who condemned Paladino’s remarks Monday.

His statements are “not what America stands for and it’s not what New York stands for,” Bloomberg told the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, some New Yorkers agree that Paladino is an early Christmas gift for Cuomo.

“He’ll push people toward Cuomo,” said James Carter, 39, of Park Slope. “That’s his main purpose, whether he knows it or not.”

(with Heidi Lee)

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