NYC mayoral debate heats up as candidates square off on the issues

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They took the gloves off at last night’s Democratic Mayoral debate and candidates came swinging at each other as they close in on the primary less than three weeks away.  All seven Democratic contenders took part in the debate at Town Hall, including two lesser candidates, former Councilman Sal Albanese and Minister Erik Salgado.

Sparks began to fly when former Comptroller Bill Thompson accused Public Advocate Bill de Blasio of inaccurately portraying himself as the first candidate to demand an end to stop-and-frisk. “The New York Times says the ad is inaccurate Bill, take it down,” declared Thompson, adding “Stop lying to the people of New York.”  Not responding directly to the question, de Blasio instead laid out his plan to stop the police policy. Afterwards, Council Speaker Christine Quinn turned to Thompson and asked, “I want to know if you are satisfied with that answer?”  Thompson shot back, “No I’m not satisfied” and gave a passionate discourse on the major conviction he has to stop racial profiling.

De Blasio lambasted Quinn for flip-flopping on stop-and-frisk, noting that she originally supported Mayor Bloomberg. De Blasio questioned Quinn on whether she will vote with the city council today to override Mayor Bloomberg’s veto  of the Community Safety Act that would provide an inspector general for the NYPD.  Quinn accused de Blasio or misrepresenting her position and she asserted, “we’re going to override, going to put an end to unconstitutional stop-and-frisk. I will put out legislation that will have permanent monitoring of the NYPD.”

Quinn focused many of her attacks on de Blasio, once during a discussion about the closure of financially troubled private hospitals.  She mocked de Blasio for fighting against the closing of Long Island College Hospital while aligning himself with celebrity activists like Susan Sarandon who opposed the plan to renovate St. Vincent’s Hospital which closed three years ago.  She accused him of flip-flopping, a common theme of her attacks on the Public Advocate.

Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner was mostly ignored by the other candidates until near the end of the debate when he challenged Quinn to release reports having to do with a scandal involving the misappropriation of council member’s spending accounts .  Albanese and Salgado struggled to have their voices heard.  At one point Salgado quipped, “I may have an accent but I can talk.”

The Democrats talk again in their third debate  in two weeks.  The Republican candidates square off in their debate next Wednesday.