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Rabbinic Svengali Quits Paladino

Candidate is no longer sufficiently homophobic

Marc Tracy
October 13, 2010

This keeps getting better and better.

• On Sunday, New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, a Tea Party favorite, says offensive things about gay people to applauding ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn. However, he omits this especially heinous sentence in his prepared remarks: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.”

• Then, on Monday, Paladino clarifies his remarks, cryptically blaming unnamed Jewish leaders whose consultations had provoked the line he skipped.

• Then, yesterday, we learn what Paladino was talking about: An explicitly right-wing pseudo-Hasidic Brooklyn hack rabbi named Yehuda Levin has become Paladino’s ambassador to Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox community. Of Sunday’s speech, Levin says, “I stand ready to defend the content.”

• Then, this morning, Paladino apologizes for his speech.

• And finally! This afternoon, speaking in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral (!), Levin—who mere days ago was so close to Paladino that the candidate could joke about firing his campaign manager, Michael R. Caputo, and hiring Levin—withdraws his support for Paladino, saying he cannot back him “until such time as he straightens out.” Pun, hopefully, intended.

Meanwhile, Caputo just described Cuomo as “oily.” So that’s the gays and now the Italians you’re offending. Who could be next? (I have a guess!)

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.