Cuomo Still Soft on Debate Challenge

By Hasani Gittens
|  Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010  |  Updated 2:13 PM EDT
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Cuomo Still Soft on Debate Challenge

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo says he hasn't decided if he will debate Republican Carl Paladino a week after being issued the challenge.

In a rare interview Tuesday, Cuomo told WGDJ-AM of Albany that he still hasn't determined if his campaign will agree on details to debate Paladino.

"I have said that I am open to debating and the campaigns will talk about it," Cuomo said on Fred Dicker's show on 1300-AM.

Asked if he wanted a two-way or three-way debate (with Rick Lazio, Conservative Party nominee), Cuomo said that is an issue the campaigns would have to discuss.

Cuomo also sought to distance himself from the mudslinging that Paladino has already engaged in.

"In terms of getting involved in a name-calling situation, I'm not going to do that," Cuomo said. "I'm not going to be part of an effort that further degrades this state and the government of this state, which degrades the people of this state."

Yesterday it was revealed that Paladino sent a letter to Cuomo saying he had no "cojones" for not agreeing to have a debate. Later yesterday, the state Democratic Party released a picture showing Paladino's head on the body of a pig.

Paladino a week ago won the GOP primary in a landslide.

Although the state Democratic Committee Cuomo directs has engaged Paladino for weeks in a campaign widely viewed as unusually dirty even by New York standards, Cuomo says he's staying above all that in his public comments.

Paladino says Cuomo and the Democrats who control Albany are scared. He says Cuomo isn't man enough to debate and is trying to ride his father's coattails into the office.

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