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Beth Finkel, the state director of AARP New York, released a statement Wednesday morning criticizing New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner for calling his Republican rival George McDonald "grandpa" in a heated exchange at the AARP-Univision News Mayoral Town Hall Tuesday morning.
"AARP found some of yesterday's comments regarding age unfortunate, especially at a time when, according to a new AARP survey, nearly one quarter of New York's 50+ voters say they or a family member have experienced unwelcome comments about their age and nearly half are concerned about age discrimination. A person’s age should not be a factor in politics, or anything else."
Weiner and McDonald, a 69-year-old entrepreneur, got into it prior to the forum, and local news station NY1 captured footage of a portion of their exchange.
"Don't put your hands on me ever again," said McDonald.
"Really? What's going to happen if I do? You're a tough guy now?" Weiner asked.
"I am. I can defend myself," McDonald responded.
Weiner then told McDonald to get his "anger issues under control."
"I don't have any anger issues," McDonald said.
"But you do, grandpa," said Weiner.
Afterwards, McDonald told NY1 the incident began when Weiner aggressively touched him on the chest. Weiner and his campaign did not respond to a request for comment about AARP's statement or McDonald's claim that Weiner started the spat.
McDonald has been aggressive in attacking Weiner for his sexting scandals. After the AARP forum, McDonald argued with Weiner supporters who were gathered outside the event.
"How do you explain to a 10-year-old granddaughter how he tweets out pictures of his penis to people?" McDonald asked.
McDonald is currently polling in third place in the GOP primary behind former Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman Joe Lhota and billionaire John Catsimatidis. All of the leading Republican candidates are far behind any of the major Democrats in polling of hypothetical general election matchups.
Watch video of Weiner and McDonald's exchange below.