This is pretty bizarre. But then again, it’s Carl Paladino.
You’ve probably already heard that Paladino created another press frenzy this weekend by telling a group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn that “there is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.”
But just a short while ago Paladino’s campaign sent out a press release insisting that not only does Paladino not believe this but that he did not even say it.
Full text of the press release after the jump …
STATEMENT OF CARL PALADINO
CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK
(NEW YORK, NY) – In reaction to inaccurate media reports of his comments to Orthodox Jewish leaders today in Brooklyn, New York, Carl Paladino issued the following statement:
“In my speech today to Orthodox Jewish leaders in New York City, I noted my opposition to gay marriage, inspired by my Catholic beliefs. I also oppose discrimination of any form. I did not say this phrase, as was inaccurately attributed to me by some media outlets:
“There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. That is not how God created us.”
I do not agree with this passage, nor did I say it. Apparently a few reporters relied upon suggested remarks distributed by my hosts at the synagogue in Williamsburg after my departure, not the actual statement I made. My campaign staff has worked with the inaccurate outlets and most corrected their stories after viewing video of the event.
I unequivocally have no other reservations about homosexuality. I enjoy a close relationship with my nephew who is gay and I certainly consider him to be a functional child of God.”
Now given all the craziness we’ve seen from Paladino over the last few weeks, his claim that he did not even say something multiple press outlets reported him saying did not strike me as particularly credible. But a number of just-corrected reports seem to back him up … or at least kind of.
The Times quotes Newsday saying that the offending statement (and it was one out of several) was in Paladino’s prepared remarks but that he left out that sentence when he actually delivered his speech. But that’s significantly different from the Paladino campaign’s claim that the sentence came from a list of suggested remarks from his hosts.
But look at what the Daily News says …
In a version of the speech distributed by a rabbi, the rant went further, charging there is “nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.”
Paladino, who’s running for governor, winced as he got to this section of the text, and he never spoke the line.
His campaign later said it had days of discussions with Orthodox leaders about what Paladino would say, and the text distributed to some reporters was not produced by the campaign.
To a significant degree, this does back up Paladino’s claim. It was a ‘version’ of the speech prepared by the rabbis. But if I’m reading this right, that’s the version Paladino was reading from. Otherwise that ‘winced’ reference makes no sense. And that makes the whole story even weirder then version one in my book.
So Paladino was reading from a speech that was prepared for him by his hosts? Not that pols don’t often solicit and accept quite a bit of input from potential supporters about what they want to hear. But this would seem to take things to a new level entirely.
It leaves me wondering: did Paladino just read the speech cold? He and his campaign had never seen this text before? Or did the campaign in fact approve this text but when it came to that line it was just too much even for Paladino?
Like I said, this version of the story seems even weirder than the original.
[ed.note: It is worth noting explicitly that while this one sentence may have been the stand-out, the gist of the rest of Paladino’s remarks were quite similar, if perhaps not quite as bald.]