WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) --
As CBS 2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Republican Rob Astorino has offered a redo of one of the most controversial political ads ever – President Lyndon B. Johnson's "Daisy Girl" ad in 1964.
The ad opens with a child counting daisy petals. A narrator issues a countdown. Finally, there is a loud explosion and a huge cloud erupts that morphs into incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's face.
The voice ominously says: "These are the stakes. Do we re-elect a governor who may end up in jail?''
Astorino said at a news conference Monday that the nuclear cloud illustrates "a cloud of corruption," WCBS 880's Paul Murnane reported.
"It's meant to get people talking about the corruption in the state, which has to come to an end," Astorino said.
Astorino's New TV Spot Attacking Cuomo Mimics 1964 'Daisy Girl' Ad
Astorino said her hopes the controversial ad will help his underfunded, underdog campaign get some traction.
"It's an ad that's meant to be provocative, yes," Astorino said. "It's meant to get people talking about the corruption in the state, which has yet to end."
Astorino is trying to make hay with allegations that Cuomo is under investigation by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for aborting the Moreland Commission, which was investigating corruption in the New York State Legislature.
The Astorino ad is based on an ad that the Johnson reelection campaign ran only once against Republican Barry Goldwater, but was credited with helping Johnson achieve his landslide victory that year.
Cuomo's campaign noted that Astorino also is involved in a federal investigation involving housing desegregation in Westchester County. Astorino said the county and the feds are simply in disagreement on matters of policy.
"That's not crimes," the Republican said.
But Cuomo's campaign has gone negative against Astorino on policy issues too.
"Do you believe we should cut dental services for seniors on Medicaid? Rob Astorino does. He's even laughing about it," one ad says, showing Astorino remarking, "Soup is good" as an answer when asked in an interview, "If dentures not covered, how do you chew?"
"Two can play that game," the narrator says in the video.
The ad includes two young girls saying Cuomo is "the worst man in the world" and "a monster."
The tongue-in-cheek ad also says Cuomo is a "unicorn killer," "locked Santa in a chimney," and pushed Humpty Dumpty off the wall.
In a separate video, Astorino's son, Sean, takes issue with the Cuomo campaign for cutting him out of a photo with his father used in an ad.
"I went to a football game with my dad when I was 7," Sean says. "It was a really great day for me. It was one of my favorite pictures ever with my dad. It wasn't very nice of you that you cut me out of it."
Cuomo and Astorino are also bickering around debates. Astorino wants eight around the state, but Cuomo has agreed to two. Cuomo previously refused to square off against his primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout.
Cuomo wants the debate that is set to be a mano-a-mano contest with Astorino in New York City to be limited to radar.
"The fact that he refuses to have a debate on television just shows that he is absolutely deathly afraid of answering questions," Astorino said.
A second proposed debate in Buffalo will also include Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Libertarian party candidate Michael McDermott. Both debates will be held in mid-October.
Cuomo was not available for comment Monday. He was set to return to New York Monday night after a trip to Afghanistan.
Cuomo and Astorino will face off in the Nov. 4 general election.
A recent poll shows Cuomo continuing to hold a big lead over Astorino. Fifty-four percent of likely voters in the survey support Cuomo's re-election bid. Twenty-nine percent favor Astorino and nine percent back Hawkins.
The Astorino daisy ad will air just once, on Tuesday. And as for the debate question, as of Monday there was no agreement.
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