Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for governor in New York, certainly lived up to his reputation as a tough-talking, mad-as-hell kind of guy in a conversation he just had with All Things Considered co-host Robert Siegel.
As Paladino said at one point, with considerable passion: "I'm not politically correct and I don't want to be!"
To be fair, they covered subjects of substance, including which state agencies Paladino thinks need to be closed immediately (including the Division of Housing and Community Renewal; Paladino says an "enterprise" agency can do the same work more effectively).
And they touched on Paladino's support from the Tea Party movement. The candidate said that calling him a Tea Party candidate "goes a little bit further than it actually is. ... I'm a candidate for governor of the state of New York, supported and endorsed by the Republican Party and the Conservative Party and the Tea Party movement also."
But when they got to some of the headline moments of the campaign so far, the volume went up.
-- Robert asked about the viral video of Paladino's confrontation with New York Post Albany bureau chief Fred Dicker. At one point in that encounter, Paladino said to Dicker that if "you send another goon to my daughter's house ... I'll take you out, buddy."
Today, Paladino told Robert that during the confrontation, "I didn't lose it ... absolutely not. ... I'm a father, sir ... I didn't lose anything. ... I did what is not politically correct."
He also went on to accuse Dicker of being part of an "elitist press" that is supposedly in the pocket of politicians such as the state's attorney general, Andrew Cuomo (the Democratic nominee for governor).
-- Asked about Cuomo campaign accusations that Paladino, a real estate developer and landlord, benefits from some of the state programs he wants to shutter, the candidate told Robert that he's saved the state money over the years by being the low bidder on leases for office space used by state agencies.
-- Paladino also objected strongly to a question about contributions he's made over the years to the state's politicians and whether his businesses might have benefited from such political connections. "I defy anybody to ever produce any evidence that I used political contributions for the purpose of advancing my own interests," he said at one point. It is, he believes, "the responsibility of successful leaders ... in the community to support good candidates for elected office."
Paladino spoke to Robert by phone from New York. His end of the conversation was also recorded there, so better audio will be available for today's report on ATC. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts and/or webcasts the show.
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