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Paladino expands horizon of controversy <br> Uses analogy of 9/11, health care bill

won't officially enter the Republican campaign for governor until April 5, but he has already ignited controversy in New York City after comparing the newly passed health care legislation to the terrorist attacks of 2001.

"Every decent person should be disgusted" by Paladino's assertion that the new law will kill more Americans than were lost in the terrorist attacks, said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-Manhattan.

Nadler, who represents the World Trade Center area where almost 3,000 people were killed, called Paladino's remarks "a new low."

"He has insulted the memory of the nearly 3,000 Americans who were murdered on that day, and the thousands more first responders and survivors who have been sickened as a result of the environmental disaster which followed," Nadler said.

That prompted the Buffalo attorney and developer to fire back at Nadler in a tone he often saves for Buffalo politicians and school officials he has targeted for years.

"Your statement drips with the pomposity and arrogance we have come to expect from our rotten ruling class, so busy clawing for campaign contributions they can't find the time to understand the bill," Paladino said in a letter to Nadler. "I am not impressed that you kissed enough [rear ends] to chair a committee of politicians in the Congress, and the fact that you are chairman of a House Judiciary Subcommittee hardly means you are an authority on the constitutionality of the 'Obamacare' law."

The fracas began Tuesday when Paladino made his "Obamacare" claim to a New York City radio station.

"I fear the results of Obamacare will be so horrific that it will kill more Americans through deteriorating health care than were lost on 9/1 1," Paladino explained in a later news release. "Nothing can lessen the terrible events of that day, but in terms of raw numbers, more will suffer and die through Obamacare."

Paladino is sticking by his comments. In fact, he said Wednesday that New York's Republican primary voters can expect more such observations.

His campaign manager, Michael Caputo, said nobody should expect Paladino to run a "politically correct" campaign.

"Carl meant what he said; he didn't slip," Caputo said after Paladino's initial remarks. "If people are offended by nonpolitically correct comments, it's not going to change."

Caputo added that 575 "tea party" activists signed an Internet version of a Sunday letter Paladino sent to State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, asking him to join other attorneys general around the nation in opposing the new health care law, with most signing after Paladino's broadcast remarks.

Paladino also signaled some of his expected campaign themes when he contrasted his own role as a private businessman against Nadler and other longtime politicians.

"You can't recognize the role small- and medium-sized businesses play in real job creation because you have spent your life on the public payroll," Paladino told Nadler. "I know what Obamacare will do to the business core of New York's economy -- it is going to choke us, plain and simple."

e-mail: rmccarthy@buffnews.com

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