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GOP already pushing for more debates

HEMPSTEAD -- While the Cuomo campaign kept a low-profile, pre-debate presence, the Republicans were out in force before the candidates took the stage with a beefed-up plea: more debates.

“They should be around the state,’’ Edward Cox, the state Republican Party chairman, said of more debates before election day.

Speaking to reporters before the 7pm gathering in the spin corner of the basketball gym that's been turned into a debate-hall, Cox and Paladino campaign manager Michael Caputo separately pushed for a half-dozen more debates.

Caputo said Paladino has accepted six other debates, and he opened the door to Paladino dropping his demand that debates include all major and minor candidates. “We’d like Andrew Cuomo to attend the other six,’’ he said.

That is unlikely.

Caputo sent mixed messages about the importance of tonight’s debate. At one point, he said it will be a “defining moment’’ for all the candidates and that “with a good performance tonight I believe we can turn this race around.’’

But, he added, “I don’t consider any of this do or die.’’

-- Tom Precious

Drawing decides debate stage seating

HEMPSTEAD – The seating chart is out.

The seven candidates will sit in chairs across the stage in the following order: Carl Paladino, Jimmy McMillan, Andrew Cuomo, Charles Barron, Howie Hawkins, Kristin Davis and Warren Redlich.

So Cuomo and Paladino are not right next to each other – separated by one – but Cuomo is sitting next to one of his strongest critics. Barron, of the Freedom Party, has been dogging Cuomo on what he claims is a lack of commitment to the African American community.

Who sits where was decided by a drawing.

-- Tom Precious

McCarthy and Precious preview tonight's debate

Watch Bob McCarthy and listen to Tom Precious preview tonight's seven-candidate gubernatorial debate:

Here's the entire audio clip from Precious' preview:

Read more on the debate in Precious' article today and also in these Politics Now posts:

-Let the spin begin

-Final debate preparations under way

--Lauren Nicole Mariacher

Let the spin begin

HEMPSTEAD – The debate spin began hours before the seven candidates even took to the stage, with Team Paladino doing its best to lower expectations.

“He’s not a career politician. He hasn’t spent his lifetime preparing for debates,’’ said Greg Edwards, Paladino’s running mate and the Chautauqua County Executive.

Meeting with reporters a few hours before the debate at Hofstra University here, Edwards said New Yorkers are “going to see Carl Paladino unfiltered.’’ That would be a not-so-subtle reference to what the Paladino campaign says has been unfair treatment of its candidate in the media.

Asked if he hopes tonight’s debate can help Paladino un-do some of the damage that the Buffalo businessman acknowledged has been partially self-inflicted in recent weeks, Edwards said, “I don’t think the focus is on the damage. I think what we’re focusing on now is what New York needs going forward.’’

Is it a make-or-break moment for the GOP gubernatorial campaign? “No, it’s a great opportunity for him,’’ Edwards said.

-- Tom Precious

Final debate preparations under way


HEMPSTEAD –- New York’s gubernatorial candidates were taking their first look this afternoon at the stage at Hofstra University for tonight’s much-anticipated debate.

Carl Paladino was seen shortly after 1p.m. trying out the chairs -– there are seven of them -– and getting a feel for the cavernous hall that will seat about 1,000 audience members for the 90-minute debate, which starts at 7 p.m.

“It seems a little stilted with so many people,’’ Michael Caputo, Paladino’s campaign manager said after the run-through.

At 5p.m., the names of the seven candidates will be drawn to determine who sits where on the stage.

About 250 members of the media requested credentials to cover tonight’s debate,

The debate is being held in the David S. Mack Sports and Education Complex.

New York being New York, even the hall has its political ties: it is named for Mack, a mega real estate developer and Hofstra benefactor who has also been a top Republican Party fundraiser, notably for former Gov. George E. Pataki. Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, the Democratic nominee, and Mack have tangled, most recently last year after a probe by tCuom's office of the state police, which revealed, among other things, that Mack had been given a deputy superintendent title. He had no law enforcement experience, but showed up sometimes in uniform at state police ceremonial functions.

-- Tom Precious

McCarthy previews governor's debate on WNED

News political columnist Bob McCarthy took a look ahead to tonight's seven-candidate debate during a segment on WNED-AM 970 with host Jay Moran this morning:

Click here to download the clip and take it with you

Audio: Attorney general candidates debate

On Oct. 8, The News co-sponsored a debate between the candidates for state attorney general, state Sen. Eric Schneiderman and Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan. News Political Reporter Robert J. McCarthy was on the panel. In case you missed it, here's the complete audio from that forum:

Paladino's comic star rises -- in Taiwan

The race for New York governor surely has produced a chuckle or two -- even in Taiwan.

NMA News, a Taiwanese web site popular for its wacky animated takes on the Tiger Woods scandal and other tabloid brouhahas, this week drew up a devastating portrait of Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl P. Paladino -- in Mandarin, with subtitles.

Called 帕拉迪諾競「懸」紐約州長 (Kooky Carl campaigns from the fringe), it's, well, not for delicate souls. But it's LOL funny:

-- Jerry Zremski

Schneiderman offers "voting reform agenda"

   At least one candidate for attorney general wants the rest of upstate New York to have the same access to Primary Day polling hours as Erie County and downstate counties -- 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

   Democrat Eric T. Schneiderman today unveiled a "voting reform agenda" that includes giving all counties the option of expanded voting hours. Currently, Erie County is the only upstate county that allows all-day voting in primary elections.

   “One of the primary causes of our government's problems is that incumbents are all but guaranteed re-election. That happens because Byzantine rules make it extremely difficult to run for office and too few people vote in primaries and general elections,” Schneiderman said. “The best way to ensure    long-term reform in Albany is to increase participation by the public in their government, as voters and as candidates. As attorney general, I will lead the effort to remove unnecessary hurdles to participating by voting and running for office.”

   He proposes making longer hours optional, allowing those counties that wish to avoid the cost of additional hours the ability to maintain the status quo.

   The candidate, a state senator from Manhattan, said "hyper-technical" regulations often impede the voting process. As a result, he also proposed:

   -- Allowing same-day registration and voting in general elections. 

   -- Shortening the length of the time one must wait to vote in a primary election after joining a party.

     -- Ending
the need for voters to justify a request for an absentee ballot. 

    --Eliminating complex rules for petitioning to run for office, including rules on format of the petition.

      -- Opening up and reforming the judicial selection process; and encouraging more qualified individuals to become judges by raising judicial compensation.

     --Robert J. McCarthy


Paladino: 'I'm a live-and-let-live person'

  ALBANY -- Carl Paladino, who is at a fundraiser this evening near Albany bringing in what aides say will be at least $50,000 in donations, tried to put a halt to the firestorm he created with his controversial remarks Sunday involving gay rights.

Shortly before the event tonight, which comes in advance of another fundraiser Wednesday night in Buffalo, Paladino issued a statement that sought to apologize for the Sunday comments, which included a line that children should not be "brainwashed' into believing that being gay is "an equally valid or successful option.''

Campaign manager Michael Caputo tonight fell on his sword, taking blame for letting the line get into a speech Paladino gave Sunday night that had been written by one of the hosts at the event before a group of Jewish leaders in Brooklyn.

Here is the statement from Paladino:

"I am Carl Paladino, a father, a husband, a builder and a business owner. I am neither perfect, nor a career politician. I have made mistakes in this campaign -- I have made mistakes all my life -- as we all have. I am what I am -- a simple man who works hard, trusts others, and loves his family and fears for the future of our state.

Yesterday I was handed a script. I redacted some contents that were unacceptable. I did also say some things for which I should have chosen better words. I said other things that the press misinterpreted and misstated. I sincerely apologize for any comment that may have offended the Gay and Lesbian Community or their family members. Any reference to branding an entire community based on a small representation of them is wrong. My personal beliefs are:

1) I am a live and let live person.

2) I am 100% against discrimination of any group. I oppose discrimination of any kind in housing, credit, insurance benefits or visitation.

3) I am 100% against hate crimes in any form.

4) I am in support of civil agreements and equal rights for all citizens.

5) My position on marriage is based on my personal views. I have the same position on this issue as President Barrack Obama. I have previously stated I would support a referendum by New York voters. I have proposed Initiative and Referendum so New Yorkers can decide important issues like this.

6) The portrayal of me as anti-gay is inconsistent with my lifelong beliefs and actions and my prior history as an father, employer and friend to many in the gay and lesbian community.

I am concerned with the future for all our citizens, gay, straight, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim and agnostic. Although I am not perfect I do admit my mistakes. I will reach out to leaders of the gay community to educate me on how to better represent my support for the rights of all citizens. If elected as your governor I will stand and fight for all gay New Yorkers rights. I ask you for forgiveness on my poorly chosen words and the publication by others not involved with our campaign of unredacted script that did not reflect my oral statement or match my personal feelings. Please go to my website to learn more detail about the issues including my staunch support for civil rights for all New Yorkers."

-- Tom Precious

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |