De Blasio, Lhota meet in debate - New York News

Race for NYC mayor

De Blasio, Lhota meet in debate

Posted: Updated:
Bill de Blasio (left) and Joe Lhota (campaign photos) Bill de Blasio (left) and Joe Lhota (campaign photos)

JONATHAN LEMIRE | AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City mayoral hopefuls Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota squared off in their first general election debate Tuesday night, trading barbs while offering starkly different views for the future of the nation's largest city.

They disagreed on issues ranging from tax hikes to public safety to their baseball allegiances, each presenting themselves as the most qualified choice to lead a city preparing to take its first steps beyond the 12-year reign of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Bill de Blasio did not at any time talk about his future for the city of New York. All he wanted to do was bash me, bash me, bash me. Bill de Blasio wants the status quo. Our schools are failing our children and he wants to keep it status quo and be in bed with the teachers union," said Lhota on Wednesday.

De Blasio, the city's Democratic public advocate, has a commanding lead in the polls but did not play it safe in the debate, instead repeatedly attacking Lhota by linking him to the national Republican party, which is largely unpopular in a city where Democrats outnumber the GOP by a 6-to-1 margin.

"My opponent told the Staten Island Tea Party that their values are so close to his," said de Blasio, trying to group Lhota with the right-wing Republican faction which polling suggests is largely being blamed for the current federal government shutdown.

Frequently put on the defensive on a night where he desperately needed to land blows on the front runner, Lhota called de Blasio's line of attack "unbecoming."

"You keep talking about me like I'm some sort of national Republican," said Lhota, who is more moderate than the Tea Party on most issues. "Don't lump me in with people I'm often in disagreement with."

The debate, the first of three in as many weeks, at times resembled a wonky policy seminar, as the men delved into the minutia about building codes and tax abatements. But it was also punctuated by a series of sharp exchanges, including when Lhota suggested that the city's record low crime rate, largely achieved under Republican administrations, could be in jeopardy if de Blasio were elected.

Lhota called de Blasio "untested" and reiterated his executive experience as former deputy mayor under Rudolph Giuliani and his stint as head of the city's transit agency.

"I can be mayor on day without any training, without any learning curve whatsoever," said Lhota.

De Blasio said he would repair strained relationships between the police and minority communities and defended the suggestion that his signature campaign proposal, a tax increase on the wealthy to fund universal pre-kindergarten, would be defeated by state lawmakers.

"We'll get it passed in Albany because we'll get tremendous public support for it," said de Blasio, who has frequently pointed to his high poll numbers -- several surveys have him up nearly 50 points on Lhota -- as a mandate for the plan.

De Blasio, who was raised in Massachusetts, also offered no apologies for being a Boston Red Sox fan, saying a "real sports fan" is loyal to his team. Lhota cheers for their rival New York Yankees.

It was unclear if Lhota landed the blows he needed with time running out on his fledgling campaign. With only three weeks to Election Day, his campaign hopes his showing will inspire reluctant donors to give money that will help fund a last-minute TV ad blitz.

It may take a significant event to reverse the feeling of inevitability that surrounds de Blasio, who is looking to become the first Democrat to be elected mayor since 1989. Many of the industries that normally back Republicans, like the real estate and financial sectors, have been wary of alienating de Blasio and have yet to give much in the way of financial support to Lhota.

Third party candidates were excluded from the debate, which was sponsored by WABC, the New York Daily News, Univision and the League of Women Voters, after event organizers said they did not possess adequate poll numbers or fundraising totals. Independence Party candidate, Adolfo Carrion, and some of his supporters picketed the WABC's Manhattan studios in the hour before the debate.



  • Today on Good DayToday on Good DayMore>>

  • Joan Rivers remains in NYC hospital

    Joan Rivers remains in NYC hospital

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:54 AM EDT2014-08-29 11:54:57 GMT
    Hollywood legend Joan Rivers, 81, remains in critical but stable condition at The Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. The comedian and TV host was undergoing an outpatient procedure at a clinic on the Upper East Side on Thursday when she went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the hospital. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, issued a statement saying her mother was "resting comfortably."

    Hollywood legend Joan Rivers, 81, remains in critical but stable condition at The Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. The comedian and TV host was undergoing an outpatient procedure at a clinic on the Upper East Side on Thursday when she went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the hospital. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, issued a statement saying her mother was "resting comfortably."

  • The Simpsons marathon on FXX

    The Simpsons marathon on FXX

    Thursday, August 28 2014 12:27 PM EDT2014-08-28 16:27:14 GMT
    For actress Yeardley Smith, 'Lisa Simpson'-- the brainiac sister of Bart Simson on 'The Simpsons'-- is like a best friend. Smith has been the voice of the animated character since the 1980s and she is getting plenty of air time on FXX lately.The channel is running every episode of The Simpsons, 24 hours a day.“My Twitter account is blowing up. We have writers who as their episodes are airing they're talking about what they were thinking about when they wrote and saying lovely things."
    For actress Yeardley Smith, 'Lisa Simpson'-- the brainiac sister of Bart Simson on 'The Simpsons'-- is like a best friend. Smith has been the voice of the animated character since the 1980s and she is getting plenty of air time on FXX lately.The channel is running every episode of The Simpsons, 24 hours a day.“My Twitter account is blowing up. We have writers who as their episodes are airing they're talking about what they were thinking about when they wrote and saying lovely things."
  • Back to school special

    Back to school special

    Thursday, August 28 2014 10:51 AM EDT2014-08-28 14:51:52 GMT
    School is back in session for some and will be for most students and staff starting next week.  Good Day New York wanted to salute teachers from across the Tristate as they head back to the classroom. On Thursday, a live studio audience of teachers were part of the Back To School Special: Good Day New York Sorry Summer is Over But We Praise and Honor Teachers (but no math; we like math teachers, though.)
    School is back in session for some and will be for most students and staff starting next week.  Good Day New York wanted to salute teachers from across the Tristate as they head back to the classroom. On Thursday, a live studio audience of teachers were part of the Back To School Special: Good Day New York Sorry Summer is Over But We Praise and Honor Teachers (but no math; we like math teachers, though.)
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • NYC Denny's features $300 breakfast

    NYC Denny's features $300 breakfast

    Friday, August 29 2014 8:47 AM EDT2014-08-29 12:47:22 GMT
    Diner chain Denny's is opening it's first New York City location, complete with a big-city "deal".   How does a $300 breakfast sound?    The Denny's is located at the corner of Nassau and Spruce in Lower Manhattan's Financial District.  Along with its normal food you can get at just about any location in the rest of the country, this location will offer a Grand Slam breakfast with a bottle of 2003 Dom Perignon champagne.
    Diner chain Denny's is opening it's first New York City location, complete with a big-city "deal".   How does a $300 breakfast sound?    The Denny's is located at the corner of Nassau and Spruce in Lower Manhattan's Financial District.  Along with its normal food you can get at just about any location in the rest of the country, this location will offer a Grand Slam breakfast with a bottle of 2003 Dom Perignon champagne.
  • Security stepped up for Electric Zoo Festival

    Security stepped up for Electric Zoo Festival

    Friday, August 29 2014 8:34 AM EDT2014-08-29 12:34:04 GMT
    Festival goers to one of the most popular events of the summer in New York City will see major changes this weekend.  The Electric Zoo festival featuring headliner David Guetta takes place Saturday and Sunday on Randall's Island. Organizers are expecting 45,000 people, daily. Last year's party was cut short after the deaths of  Olivia Rotundo, 20, of Providence, R.I. and Jeffrey Russ, 23, of Rochester, N.Y. 
    Festival goers to one of the most popular events of the summer in New York City will see major changes this weekend.  The Electric Zoo festival featuring headliner David Guetta takes place Saturday and Sunday on Randall's Island. Organizers are expecting 45,000 people, daily. Last year's party was cut short after the deaths of  Olivia Rotundo, 20, of Providence, R.I. and Jeffrey Russ, 23, of Rochester, N.Y. 
  • Joan Rivers remains in NYC hospital

    Joan Rivers remains in NYC hospital

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:54 AM EDT2014-08-29 11:54:57 GMT
    Hollywood legend Joan Rivers, 81, remains in critical but stable condition at The Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. The comedian and TV host was undergoing an outpatient procedure at a clinic on the Upper East Side on Thursday when she went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the hospital. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, issued a statement saying her mother was "resting comfortably."

    Hollywood legend Joan Rivers, 81, remains in critical but stable condition at The Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. The comedian and TV host was undergoing an outpatient procedure at a clinic on the Upper East Side on Thursday when she went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the hospital. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, issued a statement saying her mother was "resting comfortably."

Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices