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Paladino Apology Prompts Rabbi To Withdraw Support

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Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino appears to have alienated some of the city's Jewish leaders after apologizing for controversial remarks made about gays over the weekend. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

Liberal-minded New Yorkers may have been outraged by Carl Paladino’s comments Sunday, like the one that students shouldn’t be "brainwashed" into thinking homosexuality is an equally valid option. But some on the other end of the political spectrum are outraged he apologized for them.

"I never believed he would chicken out. So there’s great disappointment. There’s great disappointment. People are in a state of shock. They’ve lost a hero," said Rabbi Yehuda Levin of the Rabbinical Alliance of America.

Levin, a Paladino supporter and liaison of sorts to the Orthodox Jewish community, even wrote some of the remarks Paladino delivered Sunday. Now, he says he’s rescinding his endorsement and chided Paladino for giving in to the "militant gays" with his apology Tuesday, which read in part, "If elected as your governor I will stand and fight for all gay New Yorkers rights. I ask you for forgiveness on my poorly chosen words..."

"Who is granting you forgiveness? The gay poobahs? The guys who are making the curricula that the imprisoned kids in schools have to hear Heather Has Two Mommies? Johnny Has Two Daddies?" Levin said.

The rabbi made a point of holding his press availability directly in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, as he also called on Archbishop Timothy Dolan and other religious leaders to take a stand on the controversy.

"I’m asking the archbishop, out here, in public, to weigh in -- yes or no. Who are religious people supposed to vote for? Is it kosher to vote for a person who believes in partial-birth abortion? Yes or no?" asked Levin.

The Archdiocese wouldn’t comment, saying it doesn’t endorse or oppose candidates.

Political Consultant Jonathan Greenspun, who has worked closely with the Jewish community, tells NY1 Levin never had much influence in the first place.

"He’s now withdrawing an endorsement that never mattered when he gave the endorsement, and means less when he withdrew it," Greenspun said.

When asked about the rabbi's comments, Paladino declined to comment, and told reporters, “We’re off that topic.”

As for whom to vote for now, Levin suggested he will go with a write-in candidate, like "God and morality."

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