New York's Republican gubernatorial hopeful has a history of embarrassing, potentially damaging gaffes.
Last April, just as he was launching his campaign, Paladino had to explain away sexist and racist emails that leaked from his account; then, last month, Paladino had to defend a rant against a reporter from the New York Post. His latest slip, however, with less than a month before elections, may be the most damaging. And the most offensive.
Over the weekend, while stumping for the Orthodox Jewish vote, Paladino, who actively courted the Tea Party, basically said that gay people are mentally ill and should be ashamed. And that's putting it nicely.
"I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family," said Paladino. "I don't want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option. It isn't."
His prepared remarks included this line: "There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. That is not how God created us," which turned into this: "That's not how God created us and that's not the example that we should be showing our children."
Paladino's Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo, seized on the remarks, which he called a display of "stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality." He went on, "These comments along with other views he has espoused make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and unfit to represent New York."
Paladino, sensing the gravity of his mistake, claimed later that he didn't approve of all his comments, which, he said were suggested by the "hosts at the synagogue," he said. He also insisted, "In my speech today to Orthodox Jewish leaders in New York City, I noted my opposition to gay marriage, inspired by my Catholic beliefs, [but] I also oppose discrimination of any form." And he reiterated a point his speech made, perhaps as part of a premonition: "Don't misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way. That would be a dastardly lie." Trust us, Paladino, we don't need to misquote anything. Your "brainwashing" remark gave us all we need.
Luckily for LGBT New Yorker's, Cuomo has about an 18-point lead over Paladino. Let's not get too excited, though, because there's still that little detail of actually going out to vote on November 2nd.
Update: This post has been updated to highlight Paladino's actual versus prepared remarks. The candidate now claims that the press has been putting words into his mouth, because he never actually said anything about "brainwashing." He just implied it…
Watch Paladino's speech, AFTER THE JUMP…