Carl Paladino’s campaign manager has offered his resignation after a tumultuous week for the Buffalo businessman’s campaign that began with a speech in Boro Park last Sunday that erupted in controversy over toeivah rights.Michael Caputo offered to quit the campaign Thursday, according to sources, but Paladino insisted he stay with him through the end. Caputo declined to comment.
Using a speech partially prepared by his hosts, Paladino told Jewish leaders in Brooklyn that children should not be “brainwashed” into thinking that being toeivah is acceptable.
Written remarks that Paladino did not deliver went further, talking about “dysfunctional” toeivah followers.
A couple of days later, Paladino backed away from the remarks and apologized for offending those who live the toeivah lifestyle.
The next day, Yehudah Levin, who endorsed Paladino and introduced him to chassidishe Jewish leaders, angrily broke with Paladino for what he said was backtracking on his Sunday speech. Rabbi Levin had written at least part of the speech Paladino delivered.
The firestorm over those and other remarks in the speech has been a focus all week in the media, especially the New York tabloids, and has kept Paladino from being able to do what he said he was hoping to do this week: get his message out and get the media to more deeply scrutinize Andrew M. Cuomo, his Democratic foe.
Meanwhile, Republican candidates around the state began distancing themselves from Paladino after his remarks Sunday. And Democrats say Paladino has energized gay voters who might not otherwise have voted to come out to back Cuomo, who Thursday night in Manhattan appeared before a major gay rights group to push his vow to get a gay marriage law enacted in New York.
Paladino, who this morning is heading home from Manhattan, where he attended a fundraiser, is expected to spend much of the next few days preparing for a debate Monday night on Long Island featuring all seven gubernatorial candidates.
Earlier last week, Caputo, who shares Paladino’s penchant for fiery rhetoric and pull-no-punches style, took responsibility for the Sunday controversy.
“It’s still on me. I’m the campaign manager. I have to take responsibility,” Caputo told reporters at a fundraiser Tuesday night near Albany.
“It’s the duty of the campaign manager to fall on his sword. I wouldn’t be a very professional person if I didn’t admit to my mistake,” he said of the speech and failure to redact some of the remarks that Paladino said he later regretted saying.