Democratic candidates spar in first televised mayoral debate

Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The mayor’s race heated up on Tuesday night as the Democratic candidates sharpened their attacks at one another during the first live televised debate.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was repeatedly attacked for her role in overturning term limits and allowing Mayor Michael Bloomberg to stay in office for a third term.

“I apologized for my personal behavior,” Anthony Weiner said. “The speaker refuses to apologize for overturning the will of the people.”

Quinn responded by saying that no one “should be lectured by Anthony Weiner about what we need to apologize for.”

The City Council speaker has been the front runner in most recent polls and drew the most attacks from her rivals on Tuesday.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who came out in first place in a new poll just hours before the debate, slammed Quinn for siding with the “big business community” and stalling the sick days bill for three years.

Quinn continued to tout her record and criticize her opponents.

“My opponents are attacking me repeatedly because they simply don’t have that kind of record delivering for middle-class New Yorkers,” she said.

At one point while de Blasio and Quinn were going back and forth, Weiner took the opportunity to paint himself as a fresh alternative to the other candidates.

“My fellow New Yorkers, this is the problem,” he said. “They all come from basically the same place. They’ve been part of municipal government for decades now.”

John Liu criticized his opponents on stop-and-frisk, just days after a judge ruled the policy as unconstitutional. He referred to Bill Thompson and de Blasio as “Billy-come-latelys,” saying they were slow in joining the stop-and-frisk debate.

He said he would not only get rid of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly if he is elected mayor, but he would also remove some of the police chiefs in the department.

Some of the candidates could agree on one thing. They didn’t want to talk about Weiner’s lastest sexting scandal, which has caused his ratings in the polls to plummet.

“This campaign should be about the future of the city of New York,” Thompson said. “I don’t want to talk about Anthony, and that’s not why I’m here tonight.”

“Please don’t ask me any more questions about him,” Liu said.

The lightest moments of the debate came when the candidates were asked to reveal something about themselves that would surprise New Yorkers.

De Blasio said he went to high school with Patrick Ewing but only one of them made it to the NBA, and Anthony Weiner apparently plays ice hockey after midnight on Mondays.


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