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Cuomo Responds To Paladino's Debate Challenge

NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880) -- The mud is flying.

Andrew Cuomo fired back Tuesday, responding to the political punches being thrown by opponent Carl Paladino.

CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reports on the war of words.

Don't expect the New York governor's race to take the high road.

Republican Paladino's first shot was this: "To clean up Albany start with Cuomo."

Not wanting to get his hands dirty, Cuomo had the state Democratic Party put out this attack -- Paladino depicted as a pig at the public trough getting $12 million in tax breaks.

The pig isn't the only thing in the mud.

"He's struggling to get his seat belt on," Paladino said on a Tuesday broadcast.

That's how Paladino summed up Cuomo's campaign Tuesday, the second day in a row he has gone after his opponent with a baseball bat -- his weapon of choice for fixing Albany.

"That's not my particular instrument of change, no," Cuomo said.

LISTEN: WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reports on Cuomo's response to Paladino's challenges

Cuomo tried to make a joke about the baseball bat, addressing his opponent for the first time on a radio show. And he also tried to take the front runner's above-it-all attitude, saying he would not run a campaign like Paladino, who won the Republican primary against Rick Lazio with bombastic rhetoric against all things Albany.

"I've been trying to restore trust. I am not now going to be part of an effort that degrades state government and degrades New York politics and degrades democracy. I'm not going to do it," Cuomo said.

Paladino stuck to his strategy, with this assessment of their differences on the shared goal of cleaning up and reforming Albany.

"He's taking a whisk broom. He's going to go and clean up some of the rails or whatever. We're taking a baseball bat," Paladino said.

With the latest poll showing Cuomo ahead by 16 points, experts say Cuomo's present strategy of trying to personally stay above the fray is a good one.

"It makes sense. He's the adult in the school yard and Paladino is the juvenile yelling 'your mother!' I mean its classic juvenile name-calling stuff," Baruch College pundit Doug Muzzio said.

Paladino tried to one up Cuomo Tuesday by putting out a press release naming a blue ribbon commission to recommend ways to cut taxes.

Kramer reports she ran into one of his appointees on the street, former state Comptroller Ned Regan, who said he didn't know Paladino and had "never met the guy."

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