6:50 pm Oct. 18, 20101
For 90 minutes last night, gubernatorial candidates Andrew Cuomo, Carl Paladino, Howard Hawkins, Warren Redlich, Charles Barron, Kristin Davis and Jimmy McMillan answered questions in a round-robin debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, each beginning with a short campaign statement.
Watch along at NY1 here:2010 Candidates For Governor Debate At Hofstra University: NY1.com
Nick: Paladino ends his opening statement with the word "dismember." Jimmy McMillan, whose performance I'm eagerly awaiting, apparently is wearing gloves.
Alex: Red ties for Cuomo and Paladino, McMillian is the only one in gloves. Cuomo promises fewer governments, plural, which ought to trump the Libertarian.
Alex: And no tie at all for Barron!
Nick: Barron wonders why there aren't Latino, Asian, and Native American moderators. Barron rocking his traditional Nehru.
Nick: Barron comes out swinging against "political cowardice and those who are controlled by corporate interests."
Nick: This might be the first time in Charles Barron's life that he might be the more conciliatory of two African-Americans on a panel with five white people.
Alex: Howie Hawkins: 16 + 8 + 4 is 34! (Fact-check?)
Nick: Kristin Davis, who full-disclosure, Alex and I both attended a fundraiser for (where she auctioned off dates with Penthouse Pets).
Alex: She ought to communicate well with lips that huge.
Nick: To be clear, neither of us bid on any Pets.
Alex: And here's Warren Redlich hammering home his "the New York City librarian makes 2 much damn money" argument
Nick: Yes, Libertarian candidate Redlich starts with the same anecdote he used on Brian Lehrer this morning about the head of NYPL making $689,000.
Nick: Jimmy McMillan is of the Rent Is 2 Damn High party, apparently inspired by the same prepositional spelling as "Bong Hits 4 Jesus."
Alex: Jimmy McMillian also apparently has discovered a cure for cancer!
Nick: Jimmy McMillan ranted for four-and-a-half minutes straight this morning on WNYC. Go to the 24:00 mark.
Nick: Carl Paladino: "out-of-control mandates by the schools"
Alex: Paladino also stumbled over his talking points about onerous property taxes.
Nick: "I'm Warren Redlich. I'm not your typical New York politician. I wasn't caught with a prostitute, my dad wasn't governor, and I haven't committed any crimes." Redlich was by far the most compelling minor-party candidate in Brian Lehrer's interview this morning. If anybody is actually watching this for anything other than entertainment value, he could get some votes tonight.
Alex: Yeah Redlich with the zings. And sounding very reasonable!
Alex: I'd vote a Redlich/Hawkins ticket—the laughs would be subtler than a Davis/McMillian ticket but no less satisfying.
Nick: Green candidate Howie Hawkins has a striped green tie and a Good Ol' Boy delivery.
Nick: Hawkins just said he was from Syracuse. Is that the Syracuse accent? I know they call it Sera-cuse up there...
[ed note: This doesn't explain the accent, but he's from San Francisco, apparently.]
Alex: Yeah Hawkins accent is completely bizarre. Barron's answer to the property tax issue is to teach our children the Underground Railroad Curriculum.
Nick: Cuomo is angry about property taxes, sounds more gubernatorial than anyone else on the stage.
Alex: I note that Cuomo name-checked an upstate country, proving his seriousness.
Nick: And Suffolk county.
Nick: Paladino has removed his glasses.
Nick: Redlich attacks Cuomo more cogently than Paladino has.
Alex: Yes, Redlich would be a compelling Republican candidate for sane New Yorkers.
Alex: Cuomo just wants to remove all that waste and fraud!
Nick: Cuomo responds to Barron's argument that Andrew's heading toward layoffs: "They go with you, Charles, there aret no jobs."
Nick: The candidates now face a question about clean water protection. (This is important because of the issue of hydrofracking upstate.)
Alex: Funny that Cuomo acknowledged anyone on stage, let alone Barron.
Nick: Charles Barron hits Cuomo on refusing to ban hydrofracking because of "his business cronies."
Alex: "You notice Mr. Cuomo didn't say he would ban hydraulic tractoring... hydraulic fracturing...."
Alex: "The Democrats are flim-flammin' the environment movement," says Green Party Candidate Foghorn Leghorn.
Alex: Oh, was Hawkins just the first to mention the name "Paterson"?
Nick: "The bridge is out," says Hawkins. "We go that way, we go over the edge."
Nick: Redlich defends AC. Most of his contributions don't come from hydrofrackers, they come from the New York real estate industry.
Alex: Another quality zing.
Alex: Paladino wants MORE hydrofracking. Hydrofracking EVERYWHERE.
Nick: Now that Jimmy McMillan is talking, I need to plug his amazing website. Great songs, great graphics.
Nick: JMcMillan: "I want my own cable company, I want my own power company."
Nick: Charles Dolan is actually in the audience tonight.
Alex: Jimmy McMillian is going to bulldoze mountains in order to get his own cable company—he can't please everyone, but this is for the children.
Alex: You know it occurs to me that if you're a regular fringe candidate who for whatever reason sat this election out, you are totally watching this right now and kicking yourself.
Nick: Yes, absolutely.
Nick: It's worth noting that none of these candidates had petition challenges. Everyone who wanted to get on the ballot for governor did.
Nick: Actually, perhaps Barron survived a petition challenge.
Nick: Azi Paybarah tweets: journo tells me "i like how the @CarlPaladino twitter feed has the script of what Paladino should have said"
Nick: He's right.
Alex: Yeah, Caputo should be on that stage in Carl's place.
Alex: Cuomo is devoting all of his time to making it OK for Republicans to vote for him. Barely a shred of red meat for the liberals.
Nick: Caputo has said that he told Carl not to agree to a circus all-in debate, but Carl overruled him.
Nick: Right, Brian Lehrer, in his LiveChat, says, "It seems to me that Cuomo is happy to distance himself from the progressives on the stage and feels no real threat from them stealing liberal votes. The pressure he is responding to is from the right, so he looks like a serious cutter as his emphasis."
Nick: Redlich makes fun of a state commission. "Give me, [the moderator?], and Mr. Barron 300 bucks, a pizza, and a six-pack, and we could get this done." Love this guy.
Nick: Oh, weird, the third person was this high-school student Hallie, who had not yet been introduced.
Alex: I believe it was him and Howie and Barron—which, again, there's your sitcom.
Nick: Howie, there we go. I would watch that sitcom. Except I think the focus groups wouldn't identify with Howie very well.
Alex: Well, he IS an alien of some kind, I think. A southern-fried socialist alien from Syracuse via San Francisco.
Nick: OK, that's a decent premise.
Nick: Redlich making a strong play for everyone in between Paladino and Cuomo.
Nick: It's a good time to note that there are two candidates on this stage who are connected to Roger Stone.
Nick: I met Roger Stone at Kristin Davis' party. He told me, I swear, "Tell Alex Pareene he can go f*ck himself."
Alex: Roger Stone always wanted me to link to his annual best-dressed list. And to be fair I did at least once! So honestly he owes ME.
Nick: Ugh. Roger Stone dresses like a mobster.
Alex: Hey, Cuomo talking like a Democrat all of a sudden. Two school systems, one for rich and one for poor.
Nick: Paladino argues for vouchers.
Alex: Paladino also wanted us to acknowledge the "shame" of taking five- and six-year-olds and putting them in "urban schools."
Nick: But more from Andrew Cuomo: "incentivizing performance, use charter schools, encourage competition... How do you fund competition instead of just funding the status quo?"
Alex: Hah, yep.
Alex: Charles Barron wants "smart boards" in every school, too.
Nick: And an end to mayoral control of schools in New York.
Alex: Oh that is apparently a fancy whiteboard with a computer in it.
Nick: It occurs to me that Barron's "Freedom Party" is the first left-leaning "Freedom Party" anywhere in the world in quite a while.
Nick: Haaaa, funny, Alex.
Nick: Kristin Davis: "The key difference between the MTA and my former escort agency is that I had one set of books and operated with on-time service."
Alex: Kristin Davis wants the MTA run more like a brothel.
Nick: I'm maybe in favor.
Alex: Though auditing the MTA seems to miss the point, which is that it's underfunded by ... Albany.
Nick: But what kind of pension costs would we end up having to pay piano players if they belonged to the Transit Worker's Union?
Alex: You certainly don't want your girls making overtime.
Nick: I think there are so many problems facing (and with) the MTA that unraveling what precisely is wrong at any given moment is a true Gordian knot.
Barron: Abolish the MTA, and no congestion pricing.
Nick: Cuomo is just smacking around the MTA. "Nobody's in charge."
Nick: Cuomo comes out for gubernatorial control of MTA. Good for him.
Nick: So does Jimmy McMillan. "I mentioned this to one of my friends on his radio show. His name is [Daily News columnist] Errol Louis."
Nick: Redlich calls for the privatization of the MTA.
Alex: Cuomo endorses the "two sets of books" line which I thought was considered a bit dodgy—I am also unconvinced that one conductor making six figures is The Problem.
Nick: Woah, Alex, I don't think this is the time for us to have an actual substantive policy discussion. We've got a circus to cover!
Alex: Who's behind the parking lot, Cuomo? That is a question for our time!
Nick: Redlich comes up with a new attack on Cuomo related to corruption. Cuomo has received $50K from a Delaware corporation that appears to own only one small Manhattan parking lot. Redlich calls on Cuomo to reveal who is behind this corporation.
Nick: Paladino calls for massive state layoffs. "We'll give the good state workers a job back, uh, later on."
Nick: Neither Alex nor I has yet mentioned what phenomenal facial hair Jimmy McMillan has.
Alex: State workers are known for their abilities, like bears, to go into deep hibernations, so I'm sure they'll be fine.
Nick: In their Albany man-caves!
Alex: I think Andrew Cuomo is promising to put everyone in government in jail?
Nick: The crowd is cheering more. Jimmy Mac got a fair bit of applause after his "RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH" summation.
Nick: BREAKING: Barron hits Andrew Cuomo on "his buddy Vito Lopez" (which gets some applause at the attack).
Nick: Sorry, this is my own personal obsession.
Alex: I was trying to remember what animal it is that McMillian's facial hair reminds me of, and the answer is an emperor tamarin.
Nick: Barron: "Asking Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino to end corruption is like asking an arsonist to help us put out the fires."
Alex: Cuomo is connected to Lopez AND David Koch.
Nick: The paisan writing this sentence has a bit of an issue with the way Barron emphasized the vowels at the end of the two major candidates' names while discussing corruption.
Nick: Paladino: "This is a rebuttal?" Then chuckles for a while.
Alex: Hah, then he moves on to his stump speech.
Alex: "As a karate expert, I will not talk about anyone up here."—Jimmy McMillan, ladies and gentlemen
Nick: ANDREW CUOMO: "I AGREE WITH JIMMY. THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH."
Nick: And here is the obligatory Green Party plug for ranked-choice voting.
Alex: Howie Hawkins would vote for himself, and then for Charles, and then for Warren Redlich!
Nick: Kristin Davis is very clearly reading her answers.
Nick: She also called New York politicians "whores," said she knows how to deal with them.
Nick: Also, every candidate went over time on the last question, every candidate except for Paladino supports gay marriage.
Alex: Barron wouldn't say yes or no.
Alex: And McMillan supports Man-shoe marriage.
Nick: Oh, yes. Thank you.
Nick: Wow, I'm looking forward to some ACT-UP activists making Barron's life miserable.
Alex: Who just walked by while Kristin Davis was reading her closing statement?
Nick: I missed it. But stick around for the commercials on NY1 after the debate. A lot of weird geriatric medications.
Nick: Or, wait, you have News12, huh? Good thing you don't like the Giants.
Alex: Nah, NY1!
Nick: Some takeaways from the closing statements:
Nick: Barron: "Paladino is not going to win. Don't let Andrew Cuomo fool you with those boogeyman tactics."
Nick: Cuomo ends with New York is No. 1. Go Yankees. Seriously.