Cuomo will never let Paladino do a “Lazio” on him

I want to repeat one of my comments from earlier this week, "you could bet the house on it," Team Cuomo will not repeat the mistakes of Rick Lazio.

Lazio ignored. He didn’t engage Paladino. After all, Lazio thought, the public would see Paladino as out of touch, as a loose cannon forwarding racist emails about the President, somebody who might be a good businessman, but that’s about it. Well, say what you want. The world knows who won and who was sent packing with only the conservative line in his corner.

Carl Paladino vs Andrew Cuomo.

With this contest, unpredictability is the only variable we can count on.

 You have to forget the polls (at least for now) which have consistently shown a blow-out for Cuomo. If we went with conventional wisdom, Paladino would not be the Republican Nominee today.

What we do know is Andrew Cuomo has worked very hard to remake his image. He has been so disciplined over the last four year that to think Cuomo will permit Paladino to do “a Lazio” on him is just not going to happen.

The Cuomo people are going to let Paladino talk, and then talk some more hoping that he will polarize himself right out of serious contention by the voters in the empire state. They are going to make sure you know every wacky thing Paladino has ever said. So get ready. There are some wild thoughts and ideas out there.

But Paladino is tricky and history has already shown it’s not so easy to write him off.

In some cases, the more outrageous Paladino’s comments, the more some voters may gravitate to him, and you better believe with an expert Political consultant like Roger Stone in his corner who has advised U.S. Presidents, Stone is going to work his magic.

Stone prayed for the hand he has been dealt now with Paladino. Stone was ahead of his time with another one of his deep pocket candidates for Governor Tom Golisano. Golisano put up the money like Paladino, but it never clicked with the electorate.

In politics timing is everything, and Golisano/Stone didn’t have something called the TEA PARTY.

This race is going to be insane. Just wait until you see some of the media leaks.

But Cuomo has to also be careful.

With Lazio, Cuomo could have gone on vacation until Election day and he still would have won.

Some will say Paladino is a blessing for Cuomo, but others will know Mr. Cuomo will also have to walk a fine line.

What do you do with a candidate that will say anything that comes to his mind and some voters will quietly agree? Look at the outrageous things Paladino has said about Governors Paterson and Pataki. The comments are on the internet. I won’t repeat them here.

Where Cuomo has to be careful is personality wise. Not to step on any “character” land mines.

This reminds me of the first time Rudy Giuliani ran for mayor.

I still remember the commercial by then- wife Donna Hanover to take the rough edge off of Rudy. She referred to Giuliani as "gentle,” and " family Rudy, the soft side of a tough prosecutor.”

Giuliani’s consultant David Garth even had “body people,” around Giuliani at all times in public to make sure Giuliani didn’t blow his cool.

Well Cuomo, who has toned down his public image in the last four years as far as not getting angry, but has always had a reputation for being vindictive—- will have to “count to 10,” quite a bit on the campaign trail against Paladino.

Cuomo will have to guard against blowing his cool, because if he does, there will be an avalanche of stories about his legendary temper. On a personal level, It does need to be said that in over 20 years, I have never witnessed Mr. Cuomo lose his cool.

Paladino will hammer away at Cuomo as a liberal and point to his role at HUD. He has already started, referring to Cuomo as:

“Prince Andrew,” “Status Cuomo,” and “the entitled one.”

Initially Cuomo won’t directly take the bait. He won’t get his hands dirty.

However allies and surrogates will call Paladino a racist, a nut job and a much more. All Cuomo said Thursday was the following:

“I don’t know Mr. Paladino, and I don’t think my characterization is all that relevant or appropriate, you know?”

“That’s why we have a democracy. That’s why we have elections. And the people of the state are going to tell you what they think. And they’ll listen to positions and they’ll read words and then they’ll render a judgment. And their characterization is the one that counts.”

Will there be a debate?

Of course Cuomo doesn’t want too, and he didn’t plan too, but the case can be made for why not and simply repeat every outrageous thing Paladino has ever said.

There goes cruise control to victory.