Category Archives: Mayoral Forums

Rocky v. Rocky (Updated)



Last night, in the final 2013 mayoral debate, Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio both claimed the mantle of Rocky Balboa.  Hosted by WNBC-TV and co-sponsored by NBC New York, Telemundo Nueva York, The Wall Street Journal and the New York City Campaign Finance Board, the debate was a free flowing affair featuring some serious discussion and some personal irritation.  While not a nasty affair, it nonetheless had both candidates displaying frustration and irritation: Lhota at his lack of attention and momentum against what he views as a vastly less qualified opponent, and de Blasio at his going-nowhere opponent constantly painting him as “dangerous” and talking about David Dinkins and the city’s ’80s & early ’90s troubles.

Lhota Q&A:

As Lhota walked in for his post-debate Q&A the press pack converged in on him, prompting some audible consternation and a little shoving.  The early crush of attention dissolved a few minutes later, however, as Bill de Blasio came into the far side of the large room.  Like ball bearings to a more powerful magnet, the press pack around Lhota suddenly thinned, drawn by the more potent presence across the room.

Here is most of Lhota’s Q&A.  Although I stayed with Lhota longer than most of the press, I moved to de Blasio as a Czech TV reporter began asking Lhota about his Czech heritage.

Update – de Blasio Q&A:

Lhota & de Blasio Debate



Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio faced off in their first one-on-one debate Tuesday evening.  The full debate, hosted by WABC-TV 7, is available here.  Following the debate, both candidates spoke with the press, continuing their attacks.

Joe Lhota:

During and after the debate, de Blasio continued working to tie Lhota to the Tea Party and Republican Party dysfunction in Washington.  Lhota has fought back, asserting for weeks that he rejects both the Tea Party and the Republican tactics in Washington.  In his post-debate remarks, Joe Lhota continued pushing back, arguing that he is independent of those elements of his party.  He accused Bill de Blasio of “lying about me” and “continu[ing] to lie about who I am and what I am,” and calling de Blasio a “typical classic political hack.”

     A Uniter, Not a Divider:

I asked Lhota whether it’s instructive for voters to consider his service under Rudy Giuliani and de Blasio’s service under David Dinkins.  He responded by describing himself as a problem-solving unifier during the Giuliani administration, without reference to Dinkins or de Blasio’s time in the Dinkins administration.

Lhota Q&A:

Here is Joe Lhota’s full press Q&A.

de Bate, but no de Blasio (Updated)



Tonight Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and Independence Party mayoral  candidate Adolfo Carrion participated in a mayoral candidate debate hosted by NY1.  Bill de Blasio was invited, but declined to attend.

Topics that Lhota addressed following the debate include whether his idea of switching MTA Bridges & Tunnels to City control has any chance of state approval, his view of Mayor Bloomberg’s resiliency planning, charter schools and his reaction to a WSJ story describing Ken Langone, one of Lhota’s strongest supporters, as “convinced” that Lhota will lose.  Here is Joe Lhota’s full press availability following the debate.

Update – Carrion:

Following the debate, Adolfo Carrion spoke with the press concerning Bill de Blasio’s absence, terming his absence a message of “disrespect to the voters.”  Carrion also discussed voter interest and turnout.

Al & Joe, Together Again



That’s the Rev. Al Sharpton and Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota.  Joe Lhota, along with Bill de Blasio and many other elected officials and candidates, went to the National Action Network’s House of Justice to celebrate Rev. Sharpton’s birthday.  (Lhota had visited the House of Justice for a private meeting with Rev. Sharpton about three weeks ago – our report is here.)  Here’s Rev. Sharpton introducing Lhota and Lhota’s full presentation.

Republican Mayoral Debate One on One: JoLho v. JCats (Updated)



Republican mayoral candidates Joe Lhota and John Catsimatidis participated in a televised debate today, hosted by WNBC-TV and co-sponsored by NBC 4 New York, The Wall Street Journal and Telemundo Nueva York.  It was a friction-filled face-off, with the candidates down to the last 48 hours of the campaign.

We have video from the candidates’ post-debate media availabilities.

John Catsimatidis:

Joe Lhota:

Joe Lhota & Rudy Giuliani:

Democrats Debate (Updated)



Five Democratic mayoral candidates met for their final televised debate Tuesday evening.  The candidates grappled with each other in a verbal free for all, pushing toward a primary now only six days away.  (The full debate is available here.)

Anthony Weiner’s post-debate comments to the press were a masterpiece, highlighting what made him a viable and, briefly, frontrunning candidate.  He was funny and engaging, humorously eviscerating his opponents while remaining on message that he is a “candidate of ideas.”  His full comments, which run just under 3 minutes, are worth a watch.

Video of all other candidates follows, in order of appearance: Continue reading

Republican Mayoral Debate: The Grumpy Edition (Updated)



At tonight’s Republican mayoral candidate debate, hosted by WCBS-TV, 1010 WINS and El Diario La Prensa (available in full here), the three candidates displayed a fair amount of friction.

John Catsimatidis thinks that the New York Post doesn’t like him.

Joe Lhota supports marriage equality, but apparently has no interest in attending your wedding.

Update – George and John are not friends:

Frictions between George McDonald and John Catsimatidis have previously emerged  during the campaign.  In this debate, McDonald strongly rejected the notion that they’re friends, and expanded on that point in his post-debate comments.  While it’s clear that there really is some interpersonal friction, McDonald eventually gets to what appears to be the deeper cause of his frustration.  McDonald regards Catsimatidis as unqualified to be mayor, yet Catsimatidis’s wealth and resulting ability to fund substantial TV advertising nonetheless make him a “serious candidate” while McDonald’s campaign suffocates from lack of money.

Mayoral Debate: It’s Official!



Last night the Democratic mayoral candidates had their first “official” debate.  After more than 100 forums and debates hosted by different groups around the city, and televised debates on NY1 and WABC-TV Channel 7, the Democratic mayoral candidates participated in their first “official” debate organized by the New York City Campaign Finance Board under the city’s election laws.

For our initial report, we look at a question asked by moderator Errol Louis: “Should you be free to drink a beer on your own stoop?”  In some neighborhoods, residents have been ticketed for doing so.  Their anger at being ticketed has been further stoked by pictures of Mayor Bloomberg violating the same prohibition, unticketed, drinking wine at concerts in Central Park.  We spoke with Anthony Weiner on this topic, who offered a broader assessment.

Mayoral Forum: The Queens Co-ops, Condos & Counselors Edition (Updated x 2)



Tonight, the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council of Queens and the Queens County Bar Association co-sponsored a mayoral candidate forum.  Eight candidates attended, appearing before a crowd of 400-500 and answering questions posed by moderator Azi Paybarah.  Attendees included, in order of appearance: Sal Albanese, Joe Lhota, George McDonald, Anthony Weiner, Erick Salgado, Adolfo Carrion, Christine Quinn and John Catsimatidis.

Update #3 – Salgado re: Anthony Weiner & His Ideas:

Erick Salgado discusses Anthony Weiner’s adoption of Salgado’s idea, at least according to Salgado.

Update #2 – Weiner Addresses Audience “Audible Groans”:

As Anthony Weiner went to the podium at last night’s forum, a small wave of groans and discontent rumbled through the audience.  Here is Weiner’s reaction when asked about the audience response.

Update – Something Positive About My Rivals?  Ummm …:

Moderator Azi Paybarah asked all eight candidates a simple, but revealing question:  Can you say something positive, or something interesting that you’ve learned, about any one of your rivals?  The answers range from very warm and friendly to “all about me.”  Watch.

Weiner v. McDonald:
To start our coverage, we have a brief clip of Anthony Weiner and George McDonald crossing paths.  You may recall that Weiner and McDonald had a confrontation at an earlier forum.  McDonald has been highly, and vocally, critical of Weiner and his sexting.

Crown Heights Today



After a mayoral candidate forum on tolerance and cultural sensitivity, hosted by the New York Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, we spoke with forum moderator Errol Louis about Crown Heights and the neighborhood perspective 22 years after racially driven rioting in the neighborhood.  Our discussion with Louis, a longtime Crown Heights resident, also included Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.