Republican Lovefest (Updated)

The three Republican mayoral candidates faced off in a debate hosted by WABC-TV, and co-sponsored by Noticias 41 Univision, the Daily News and the League of Women Voters.  John Catsimatidis, Joe Lhota and George McDonald agreed on many issues and had a civil, friction-free debate.  (Some prior debates and forums, including a debate broadcast on NY1 on July 10th, have featured more fraught interactions.)  The debate was held on Friday, August 10th and will be broadcast on Sunday August 12th.

We spoke with each of the candidates immediately after the debate.  (Full video after the jump.) Continue reading Republican Lovefest (Updated)

Stringer Spitzer Slugfest (Updated)

The Democratic candidates for comptroller smiled and punched their way through their first debate yesterday.  Hosted by WABC-TV 7, along with co-hosts Noticias 41 Univision, the Daily News and the League of Women Voters of the City of New York, it was the first campaign encounter between Scott Stringer and Eliot Spitzer.  The race is essentially a referendum on Eliot Spitzer, both his past and his prospective suitability for the comptroller’s office, and both candidates approached the debate that way.  Stringer repeatedly raised Spitzer’s prostitution scandal, with additional attacks on his shortcomings as governor.  Spitzer countered by focusing on his record as attorney general, particularly his Wall Street cases.

At the conclusion of the debate, both candidates separately answered media questions.

Here is Eliot Spitzer’s full availability.  It begins with a little bit of a media rush, prompting Spitzer to remark that “this feels like Union Square again.”  Once things were sorted out (and our camera in place), Spitzer answered questions on topics such as Scott Stringer’s attacks, how much money Spitzer actually plans to spend on the campaign and criticism from Crain’s.

In this excerpt from Scott Stringer’s availability he answers questions from Josh Robin of NY1 and Marcia Kramer of WCBS-TV concerning Stringer’s initial pledge to not discuss Spitzer’s “personal life” and his more recent move to focus on Spitzer’s patronizing of prostitutes five years ago.  As Stringer notes, “maybe I have a different view of what constitutes personal life.”


Here is the full recording of Scott Stringer’s media availability.

Mayoral Forum: Laurelton Edition

Following a candidate forum hosted by the Concerned Citizens of Laurelton Civic Organization on August 1st, Anthony Weiner took questions from the press for a few minutes.  At times testy, he criticized the media’s focus on his sexting scandal.  He accurately noted that when a rival attacked him during the forum, the audience cheered not the attacking rival, but the moderator who demanded that the attacks cease.

Watch the full press availability.

Mayoral Forum: Friends of Rockaway Beach Edition (Updated x 2)

Friends of Rockaway Beach hosted a candidate forum on July 31st, with five mayoral candidates attending.

Update #2 – Anthony Weiner:

Here is Anthony Weiner’s full opening presentation.

Update #1 – International Coverage:

We spoke with a BBC reporter covering the forum about international interest in Anthony Weiner’s campaign.

Press Chases Weiner:

We’ll start our coverage with a quick look at the scene as Anthony Weiner concluded his presentation and, road show in tow, headed for the exit.

Be sure to see our extensive coverage of Rockaway’s post-Sandy recovery, here.

Mayoral Forum: Education, Arts and Culture Edition (Updated)

Teachers College, Columbia University (that’s the way they write their name, apparently), Young Audiences New York and One Percent for Culture hosted a mayoral candidate forum on July 30th focused on The Future of Education, Arts and Culture in New York City.

Update – Joe Lhota & the Brooklyn Museum:

In this excerpt, Joe Lhota discusses one of the more heated episodes of his time in the Giuliani administration.  As a deputy mayor, he led the Giuliani administration’s effort to force the Brooklyn Museum to remove a particular artwork which Giuliani and Lhota found deeply offensive.  In his current comments he acknowledges the legal defeat that he and the City suffered and that he “made a mistake.”  He goes on, however, to downplay the harshness of his attack at the time and, despite having tried to use the City’s role as the Brooklyn Museum’s landlord as leverage, to say that the City’s ownership of the land on which the Museum is located “had no bearing” on his approach.

To get you started, we have a couple of special, brief items:

Lhota v. Rudy

We captured Joe Lhota revealing a deep divide between Lhota and his opera-loving former boss.  Sort of.

An Experience That Turned You On … ?

In this excerpt, a moderator asks a candidate whether the candidate had any experience as a child that “turned you on as you hadn’t been turned on.”

Race for Mayor: Candidate #12

Jack Hidary, a New York City tech entrepreneur, has announced that he is running for mayor.  Hidary joins 11 other “serious” candidates, including seven Democratic candidates, three Republican candidates and one Independence Party candidate, in the race.  Hidary is now petitioning to create his own party for the November general election ballot.

We spoke with Hidary about his business experience and how it shapes his outlook, why he is running and some of the challenges facing New York City.

Spitzer’s Bronx Stroll

Yesterday evening Eliot Spitzer successfully walked around 149th Street and Third Avenue in the Bronx.  “Successfully” in that he actually was able to walk and talk with people on the street, unlike his campaign-launching media maelstrom in Union Square two weeks ago.  He received a very positive reception, with many people recognizing him, wanting a picture with him and professing past or future votes for him.

There’s no way of knowing how many of the people he spoke with are registered Democrats, and how many will show up to vote for him on September 10th, but his campaign would be rightly encouraged by the short stroll.  High recognition, positive comments, smiles all around and virtually no heckling or objections from passersby made for a successful visit.

In an unexpected turn of events, the media and public focus on Anthony Weiner and the latest revelations of his sexting seem to be indirectly helping Spitzer.  It’s given Spitzer a chance to begin a more normal campaign as the media and public onslaught returned to Weiner and his disingenuousness.  The Weiner saga has become a tale of ongoing uncontrollable compulsion, with the previous neat storyline of “I did wrong, but learned my lesson” shattered.  Spitzer and his personal troubles suddenly seem more comprehensible, less bizarre by comparison and, absent any new disclosures, in the past.  What will happen when the Weiner focus fades?  Will media and public attention turn to Spitzer’s past personal behavior with renewed energy?  Or will some sense of exhaustion with the tawdry move the comptroller’s race focus to the office and the candidates’ plans and qualifications?  Stay tuned.

Special Condensed Edition:

Here is a special condensed edition of Spitzer’s walk.  And we do mean condensed.  Watch – you’ll see.

Mayoral Candidate Forum: Bronx Community College (Updated x 2)

Bronx Community College hosted a mayoral candidate forum this evening.  Moderated by Errol Louis, in his 11th mayoral forum of the year, the forum featured separate panels with the Republican and Democratic candidates.

Update #2:  Weiner, The Audience & His Rivals

Anthony Weiner mostly succeeded with the audience, as shown in this report.  His rivals mounted several attacks on him, without success.

Update:  Weiner Media Availability

Here is Anthony Weiner’s full media availability following the forum, which runs about 4 minutes.  He repeats his continuing responses: what I did was wrong, it’s all behind me now, I’m not going to answer in detail and I want to talk about issues and don’t care what my competitors say.  (Note: The music you’ll hear was playing over the house sound system.)

Weiner Responds to Question of whether he uses “Facebook or Twitter”

The Democratic candidate segment featured a “Lightning Round” of yes/no and “pick A or B” questions intended to provide a peek into the candidates personalities.  The final question was not what Anthony Weiner was hoping for.

Retrospective – Weiner Comments

Here are a couple of notable Anthony Weiner comments from May and June.

The first is Anthony Weiner addressing his sexting and resignation from Congress in his first campaign forum appearance.  In his comments at the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club on May 23, 2013, he is apologetic and contrite, but does not offer any detail or description of what it is that he is sorry about.  His strategy of contrition without description served him well until the recent revelations, but those revelations now make that strategy appear deceptive.

The second is his response to a Queens Tech Policy Forum question, where all candidates were asked about their choice of personal phone.  It’s of no real consequence, but in retrospect it is a curious answer.

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