Carl Paladino Vs. NY Post's Fred Dicker: Best Campaign Confrontation of 2010


Things have escalated in New York.

The New York Post's State Editor Fred Dicker was involved in a confrontation with Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino outside a Business Council of New York State dinner in Bolton Landing last night, during which Dicker got in Paladino's face a bit, demanding evidence to back up Paladino's claim that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Paladino's Democratic opponent, cheated on his wife.

Paladino tells Dicker: "I want to know why you sent your goons after my daughter."

The New York Post has recently run stories on Paladino's former mistress and their 10-year-old daughter, sending a photographer to the house where they live.

When Dicker continues to press him, Paladino says: "You send another goon to my daughter's house, I'll take you out, buddy."

Dicker responds: "You're gonna take me out? How you gonna do that?"

"Watch," Paladino says.

"What are you threatening me?" Dicker asks, as Paladino walks away and his campaign manager intervenes to tell Dicker that he's working for Cuomo, is "way out of line," and is a terrible journalist.

See a video of the confrontation here:

It's tough to tell who comes out looking better from all this, but it's safe to say that this is the most intense confrontation of the 2010 election season. The tough-guy language is priceless, as is Dicker's persistent aggravation of Paladino and his aides.

When a guy steps in between them, Dicker asks, incredulously, "Who the hell are you?" It's probably the best reaction I've seen to this common campaign move--the body block--wherein a staffer steps in between a reporter and a candidate and tries to physically shove him out of the way without actually using his hands. (Physical comedy usually doesn't get any better.)

At the same time, there are some serious issues at play here, involving a candidate's right (or lack of right) to privacy, media attention to family members including children, and the sensibility of a father threatening a reporter whom he perceives as encroaching upon his family (or, at least, his former mistress and daughter).

The race is not close. Andrew Cuomo leads Paladino by more than 20 percentage points according to recent polls.

Click here to see the confrontation reenacted by cute, animated bears.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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