NFL Hall of Famer on Paladino: 'He's No Racist'

September 17, 2010 Updated Sep 17, 2010 at 7:57 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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September 17, 2010 Updated Sep 17, 2010 at 7:57 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) -- As Republican candidate for New York Governor Carl Paladino continues to get blasted by his political enemies, a famous NFL Hall of Fame player is coming to the Buffalo millionaire's defense.

Former Buffalo Bill player Thurman Thomas is appearing in a new campaign television commercial scheduled to air across the state next week.

Politics is a dirty business. Now political insiders who feel Carl Paladino's plan to clean up Albany are calling him a racist," Thomas says in the ad.

I've known Carl for years. He's no racist."

Gov. David Paterson, former state comptroller H. Carl McCall and former U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato, a Republican, have been hammering Paladino since his big Primary win on Tuesday.

Critics point to Paladino's plan to to send those on welfare to prison dorms to learn better hygiene and offensive e-mails he sent about President Barack Obama.

"Carl has created hundreds of jobs for people of color," Thomas says in the TV spot supporting Paladino. "He's funded a homeless mission for 15 years feeding, housing and educating Buffalo's poorest families."

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Paladino's Democratic opponent, was asked about the e-mails -- some of which included pornographic videos featuring beastiality -- but refused to say what he thinks of them.

"I believe he himself said that they were at a minimum inappropriate," Cuomo said in his first public comments on the campaign since Paladino's Tuesday victory.

Cuomo is so adept at not saying much about Paladino, that reporters ended up asking about Paladino's famous dog Duke and whether Cuomo has any pets.

"At this point in my life I am without a pet. I'm not happy about it by the way," he said, then adding with a smile: "I think we've exhausted all of the relevant questions today."