The video: In the New York gubernatorial race, Republican Carl Paladino has already raised eyebrows by threatening to "take out" a persistent reporter and admitting he'd forwarded allegedly racist emails. But his latest outburst could be truly damaging: In a speech to Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn, Paladino said he was opposed to gay marriage and did not want children "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is a... valid and successful option." Reportedly, his prepared speech included a similar remark that was not delivered ("there is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual"). After Paladino's Democrat opponent, Andrew Cuomo, accused him of "stunning homophobia," the construction magnate, who's trailing in the polls, submitted to a hard-hitting interview on NBC's "Today" this morning, insisting that he opposes gay marriages, not homosexuality in general. (Watch Paladino's interview with Matt Lauer below)
The reaction: "Well, this should just about end the New York governor's race," says Isaac Chotiner at The New Republic. Thanks to this "smear," Paladino is "toast." If the Republican Party is sincere about "reaching out to voters beyond their generally homogeneous base," says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly, it ought to condemn this kind of "old-fashioned gay-bashing." This doesn't even make sense on a tactical level, says Dave Weigel at Slate. Surely a "successful businessman" like Paladino would be better off focusing on the "unemployment rate and the weaknesses of Andrew Cuomo" than attacking gays?