Rabbi Yehuda Levin Resurrects Old Koch/Cuomo Smear At City Hall
By Celeste Katz • New York Daily News
Like a ghost from the past, ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Yehuda Levin of Brooklyn injected himself into the Carl Paladino-Andrew Cuomo gubernatorial race this morning and promptly raised an old political bugaboo that has long hounded both Andrew and his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, our Frank Lombardi reports:
It’s the “Vote For Cuomo, Not the Homo” smear allegedly used during the 1977 mayoral runoff primary between Democrats Mario Cuomo and Ed Koch, when flyers with that scurrilous slogan were circulated, supposedly by some Cuomo supporters. Both Cuomos have long denied any knowledge of the smears, and even Koch has come to reluctantly accept their denials.
But Levin — a vehemently anti-abortion and anti-gay rights zealot — happily threw that old tar ball at Andrew Cuomo today, when he showed up at the tail end of a press conference on the steps of City Hall held by Assemblyman Dov Hikind and a group of Jewish leaders to denounce Paladino’s alleged anti-Semitic remarks.
Levin, who now says he represents the Rabbinical Alliance of America, ran for mayor as the Right-to-Life candidate against Koch in 1985. He made news in 1996 by becoming a national-co chairman of the Pat Buchanan presidential campaign, angering other Jews who had criticized remarks by Buchanan as being anti-Semitics.
As the Hikind group was disbanding after the City Hall presser, Levin, who had been standing by as a spectator, took over the mic stand and announced that he was going to make a rebuttal statement on behalf of the Paladino campaign. “I have spoken with Mr. [Michael] Caputo, the campaign manager, as well as [campaign advisor] John Haggerty, a very high-up official,” Levin insisted.
He then lashed out at the Cuomo gubernatorial campaign for using “opposition research” to attack Paladino for supposedly comparing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to Hitler and an “AntiChrist.”
He dismissed the Jewish leaders who denounced Paladino as [political] hacks in the Orthodox community.
Echoing the stance of the Paladino campaign, Levin said that “if Andrew Cuomo thinks Mr. Paladino is an anti-Semite, I think he owes to New Yorkers to come out of the closet and he should say so [himself].”
Speaking privately a few minutes later later with the Daily News, Levin went on a tear, saying the attack on Paladino “reminds me” of what happened in the Koch-Cuomo mayoral race.
“Remember Mario Cuomo, ‘Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo’” Levin commented. “Like father, like son. If Andrew Cuomo thinks Paladino is an anti-Semite, and he’s going to be the ‘Capo di tutti capi' of New York, he should come out and say, ‘I challenge Paladino on this thing.’”
There was no immediate comment from the Paladino campaign, and Caputo’s voice-mail box was full.