updated 10/13/2010 7:22:51 PM ET 2010-10-13T23:22:51

Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino rails against gay marriage and called the bumping-and-griding at gay pride parades disgusting. He also once was the landlord for two gay clubs in Buffalo.

The real estate deal, first reported Wednesday by the Daily News, left Democrats calling him a hypocrite. Paladino's campaign said it proved that he supports gay rights, just not gay marriage. Meanwhile, a rabbi who represents an umbrella organization of ultra-Orthodox clerics said he was dropping his endorsement of Paladino because the candidate had apologized for the harsh wording of some of his comments about gays.

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Paladino's campaign has acknowledged recent mistakes have hurt his candidacy as it tries to overcome Democrat Andrew Cuomo's double-digit lead in the polls. The Republican's poll numbers had been slipping since late September, when he was caught on video loudly arguing with a reporter over Paladino's unsubstantiated claim that Cuomo had extramarital affairs. Late Wednesday, a political website, WNYMedia.net, released pornographic e-mails forwarded under Paladino's company account; it's the second batch of embarrassing messages linked to the candidate, who has already apologized for forwarding racist and sexist e-mails.

The latest conflict began Sunday night, when Paladino told Orthodox Jewish leaders in New York that he opposes gay marriage and doesn't want children being "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option." He also told the rabbis, "That's not how God created us, and that's not the example that we should be showing our children."

The next day, he said he was referring only to his opposition to gay marriage, then added that young children shouldn't be exposed to homosexuality, especially at gay pride parades.

On Tuesday, Paladino apologized for using harsh words, such as "brainwashed," but not his opposition to gay marriage.

"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," he said in a statement. "The portrayal of me as anti-gay is inconsistent with my lifelong beliefs and actions and my prior history as a father, employer and friend to many in the gay and lesbian community."

Story: New York gubernatorial hopeful slams gays

That apology lost Paladino an endorsement Wednesday. Orthodox Rabbi Yehuda Levin, one of his hosts on Sunday, withdrew his support and accused Paladino of bowing to political pressure. Levin says he was told by the campaign that Paladino apologized at the urging of family members, because his nephew is gay.

Paladino spokesman Michael Caputo told The Associated Press that the rabbi and Paladino "agree on many things and disagree on some, too. He's entitled to his opinion."

Being a landlord to two gay clubs in Buffalo "was a clear example of how Carl Paladino doesn't discriminate against the gay community in business," Caputo said. "Carl not only rented to the clubs — he had a good working relationship with them throughout their tenancy."

Cuomo wouldn't comment. Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, head of the party's state committee, said Paladino's "extremism is outdone only by his hypocrisy."

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Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long, who is critical to Paladino's chances for winning Nov. 2, said Paladino had better get back to his primary message of cutting taxes and state spending.

As for the leases with gay clubs, Long says it shows "he has no prejudices."

"He is not a slick politician," Long said of Paladino, his party's nominee. "He may at times be somewhat gruff, but anything I saw — and I watched all his interviews — I didn't see any meanness."

The New York Post reported a brief interview with Paladino's gay nephew, Jeff Hannon, saying, "Obviously, I'm very offended by his comments." He declined further comment. The nephew continues to work on the campaign, Caputo said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Paladino: Kids shouldn’t see Speedo-clad men ‘grinding’

  1. Closed captioning of: Paladino: Kids shouldn’t see Speedo-clad men ‘grinding’

    >> mr. paladino, welcome back, good to see you. if you are elected governor of new york , will you active le re lere -- actively recruit gays in.

    >> wherever their expertise might be, we'll put them in our government.

    >> and it doesn't matter if those people talk about being openly gay , even if they have been brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid sexual option?

    >> that remark has to do with schooling children. my feelings on homosexuality are unequivocal, i have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever. my only reservation is marriage. that's the only reservation i have. i have a lot of homosexuals working in my organization.

    >> but you didn't say that you don't want children to be brainwashed into thinking that gay marriage is an equally valid or successful option, you said to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option. first of all an option, if it's not equally valid or successful, is it a stupid option?

    >> the discrimination against homosexuals is horrible, it's terrible.

    >> did you talk to your nephew before you said that?

    >> i have talked to him.

    >> i'm not talking about him being brainwashed. i'm talking about young children. young children should not be exposed to that at a young age, they don't understand it. it's a very difficult thing and exposing them to homosexuality, especially at a gay pride parade and i don't know if you have ever been to one, but they wear these little speedos and they grind against each other and it's just a terrible thing.

    >> let's use the second part of the quote, that homosexuality is an equally or successful option. one can only deduce from that comment that you do not think that the homosexual lifestyle is equal to the heterosexual lifestyle.

    >> it's a very, very ugly, okay, experience for those that are discriminated against, it's terrible, and it shouldn't be. our society should be more accepting.

    >> but don't comments like that create more discrimination? if the lifestyle isn't as valid or successful, why shouldn't people treat homosexuals the same way as they treat heterosexuals?

    >> if the press doesn't interpret my remarks properly and they want to skewer them, that's wrong where i come from.

    >> when you say your talk from your heart, my impression of that remark was that you weren't speaking from your heart that you were reading from notes.

    >> that section of my presentation was written, okay, and it was handed to a staffer and it was put into the -- i crossed it out, i crossed out the --

    >> if that's the way it works, you agree to go speak to a group and that group gets to write the comments you need to make before that group?

    >> it was a discussion and they went too far in that discussion, and i crossed all that stuff out. the only part that i said was what you just quoted.

    >> i don't know whether it was the one of the leaders of the group that you were talking to or one of your staff members, actually had a line that said homosexuality is dysfunctional.

    >> i did not say that. that's unacceptable.

    >> was that written by a staff member or was that written by the a member of the group you were talking to?

    >> i crossed it out in the car and i didn't say it and to repeat it is wrong.

    >> let's say a staff member of yours wrote it.

    >> a staff member did not write it.

    >> so a member of the congregation did.

    >> somebody wrote that paragraph.

    >> if you're running for the highest office in the state of new york and you show up at events and they hand you a piece of paper and say here, that is what you have to say.

    >> i read it and i crossed out that remark about dysfunctional. that is not me, period.

    >> you said you aren't calling for people to harm homosexuals, my approach is live and let live . do you think anybody watching that event and watching you read those words gets the live and let live part of that philosophy?

    >> i would hope so because that's me.

    >> we have gone through a period of time in recent weeks where there's been violence against homosexuals, three men were attacked, i believe it was in brooklyn, in the bronx, excuse me. there was an attack at the famous stone wall in. there was a suicide of a gay student at rutgers. you're saying you don't want to bring harm to homosexuals, but are you worried that you might incite someone that's not as open minded as you claim to be?

    >> mr. cuomo took his daughters to a guy pride parade , is that normal? would you do it? would you take your children to a gay pride parade ?

    >> i think you can probably expose your children to a lot of different things and help them make a decision.

    >> i don't think you should go and watch grown men grind against each other, i think it's disgusting. that days before the primary, the poll had me down one point, i won by 26 points, you tell me how valid the polls are this year. the polls are all messed up because they can't predict the turnout. if they could predict the turnout, they might be a little bit better, but they're all over the place. i didn't listen to the polls, the polls that i will listen to is on november 2.

    >> speaking to the voters in new york who are trying to make up their minds in this kras right now, can you speak to them and tell them that you will be a governor for all the people of new york and open minded about who you will include in your administration and your government?

    >> i say unequivocally that i will be a governor for all the people of new york and i have never moved off of that position. and yes, it got confused, but this is a clear illustration.

    >> do you regret the remark?

    >> no, i don't regret the remark, the remarks that i made believe in. the remark that was deleted is nobody's business, it was put in there by somebody and i'm not responsible for that, i'm only responsible for what i say. and i have always stood by whatever i say. it started by anti-semitic. and i met with 200 jewish leaders yesterday and they embrace me. and they don't believe that i'm anti-semit anti-semitic. all the people in buffalo came out and said he's not a racist and now we're into phase three and the press keeps doing andrew's work. but i'm fine with that. we'll keep vetting out issues and we're going to have some none next week at the debate because andrew has to account for himself.

    >> carl paladino, i appreciate you coming back.


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