New York gubernatorial hopeful and Buffalo, NY businessman Carl Paladino issued a public apology today following reports that he wrote or forwarded a number of racially and sexually offensive email messages and photos. The photos included a picture of a man performing an African tribal ritual with the caption, “Obama Inauguration Rehearsal”, and a picture of the President and First Lady that was doctored to dress them as a pimp and prostitute. The email messages included racist and sexist language, “birther” rhetoric, and other attacks directed at the President.
In his apology, Paladino insisted that he’s “not a racist”, and that the emails were intended for a close group of friends with a particular sense of humor. After apologizing to women specifically for distributing pornographic photos, he made the following statement:
“I say this to the men out there who have never opened a graphic image on the Internet: Don’t vote for me. For those who have, I welcome your vote.”
WATCH ZACHARY ROTH OF TPMMUCKRAKER DISCUSS THE SCANDAL ON MSNBC
Earlier this year, Paladino gained the support of the Tea Party movement after announcing his intention to run for governor of New York on the Republican ticket. Paladino made headlines in March when he claimed that the Presidential health care proposal would “kill more Americans through deteriorating health care than were lost on 9/11”.
As to how this latest scandal will affect Paladino’s ongoing campaign, Paladino Campaign Manager Michael Caputo told The New York Daily News that despite the graphic nature of many of the emails, “few represented [Paladino’s] own opinion”.
“We’re not surprised the political establishment feels threatened by Carl’s drive the take Albany back for taxpayers. Our campaign won’t be wading through the details of what is just another liberal Democrat blog smear.”