In his second Friday conference call of the campaign, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan did his best to clear up some confusion in what has been a busy week of attacks between he and his opponent, Eric Schneiderman.
Schneiderman’s camp had earlier accused Donovan of dodging on whether he condemned the racist and pornographic emails that had been forwarded by his running mate, Carl Paladino.
Donovan has done his best to distance himself from Paladino and previously maintained that he could not comment on them, because, as a sitting DA, he is prohibited from endorsing anyone–and commenting on another candidate might be seen as endorsement. (The Paladino camp has apologized for anyone the candidate might have offended, while also saying they tested the email issue, and do not believe it will disqualify him in the minds of voters.)
This morning, Donovan said that he had not seen the emails–despite their being easily accessible online.
“I understand they’re very offensive. It wasn’t my reluctance to denounce them, I hadn’t seen them,” Donovan said. “If things like the n-word were used, that’s not appropriate ever.”
The endorsement issue also came up in a question about Bernard Kerik, of whom Donovan spoke favorably when he was nominated for a cabinet position.
“Bernie Kerik wasn’t a candidate for office,” said Donovan, who pointed out that a fellow DA had been recently been reprimanded for endorsing Schneiderman. (That was Nassau DA Kathleen Rice, who backed Schneiderman after losing to him in the primary.)
And, asked to address what has very quickly become a very bitter campaign–including accusations that his opponent is soft on sex offenders–Donovan said the two camps were just articulating their differences.
“I’ve never taken personally anything he’s said about me,” Donovan said.