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Candidates Take to ‘Spin Alley’ After Debate

Cuomo and Paladino Absent at Media Frenzy

After a “fun-filled” comical debate for the race to the governor’s seat in November, five of the seven candidates took questions from the media in “Spin Alley” after the gubernatorial debate at Hofstra University last week. National and local politicians also spun their spin to the media on their supported candidate.

Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy, and Andrew Cuomo’s pick for Lt. Governor, addressed Cuomo’s platform and the potential, although unlikely, for a one on one debate with Republican Carl Paladino.

“I’ll leave that up to the campaigns,” Duffy said. “I think people got a great night to see all the candidates tonight. Mr. Paladino was the one who suggested that all the candidates should be included. That was done tonight. We saw 90 minutes of ideas and I don’t think anything changed. Andrew showed why he should be the next governor.”

Duffy felt there was some “sniping” going on with the other candidates with their comments on Cuomo. He stated further that Cuomo did the right thing and kept his cool.

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins felt that the night was fair in terms of the function of the debate but that, “people are getting saturated with the two major candidates who can afford to buy expensive ads. I think it was equal footing tonight. There should be more debates, but the major party candidates haven’t agreed to go to them.”

When Paladino representative Michael Caputo was asked whether having Paladino among so many candidates hurt his chances of getting his point across, Caputo emphatically said that it would be uncomfortable for anyone.

“I don’t think being amongst seven different candidates was a positive for any one individual,” Caputo said. “Carl got his message out, even in that crowded field. I think everyone had an opportunity and Andrew Cuomo swung and missed.”

Whether or not there’d be more debates on the horizon for Paladino and Cuomo, Caputo said he thinks Cuomo doesn’t have it in him. “I don’t think at this time that Andrew Cuomo has the “chutzpa” to come out for another debate, he said. “I think that this one was very difficult on him. He was taking hits from all sides.”

Asked why, unlike the other candidates, Palidino never addressed Cuomo by name during the debate, Caputo said that Palidino was not there to talk about how “bad Andrew Cuomo is on the issues.”

“I think it was our chance to come out and talk about Carl’s platform for New York State,” he said. “It wasn’t the time to talk about how bad Andrew Cuomo is on the issues. I think the people saw Andrew Cuomo talking in platitudes and generalities. Andrew Cuomo’s worst enemy is himself.”

Former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson said otherwise. Thompson pointed out that Cuomo was the only candidate who put forward a plan to benefit the State.

“He was the one who put forward a plan, put forward ideas that could help change the state and benefit the state,” Thompson said. “Of all the people on the stage, he’s the one who’s done it. So I think that was very clear.”

 Libertarian Party candidate Warren Redlich didn’t think so. Redlich felt he was the only candidate with a plan to cut spending.

“Neither one of them can tell what job will be cut or whose salary will be docked,” he said.

One of Redlich’s sticking points was privatizing the MTA. He compared the proposal to the railways in Japan.

“I lived in Japan,” he said. “There are a number of private railways in Japan that make money. The fares are reasonable. We can do that. And what nobody wanted to talk about was the huge under-funded pension. If we privatize the MTA, we sell off the assets to the private sector and take the proceeds; we can fund the pension system.”

 Thompson was asked why Cuomo didn’t address the statements made by Freedom Party candidate Charles Barron and Redlich, and only stayed on message. “It’s not a question of staying on message, it’s a question of talking and speaking to the issues,” Thompson stated. “It’s about jobs, talking about cleaning up the integrity of government. It’s not a question of staying on message. It’s about addressing the issues. And I think he did.”

After stating the MTA worked slower than her former escort service and calling Albany politicians an expletive, Anti-Prohibition Party candidate Kristin Davis said her candidacy is not a stunt and that “I’m not doing this for publicity. I have strong views on gay marriage and to be limited to a yes or no answer during a debate was ridiculous. Our next governor has to support same sex marriage.”

Asked whether this was a true debate, Davis said, “It was helpful for the public to see the other candidates and that it’s not just a two horse race. It gives it more substance.”

Rent is 2 Damn High Party Candidate Jimmy McMillan agreed with Davis’ sentiments. He said that he wants to do a good job if elected.

He said, “Before you vote, ask yourself ‘Am I going to vote for him because I like him?’ Am I going to vote for her because I like her?’ Then say to yourself, ‘I’m going to vote for Jimmy McMillan because I need him.’”

When asked if there should have been more discussion on gay marriage and not just one answer, McMillan said, “This is not the forum for that. When I was 15 years old, I was molested by a Ku Klux Clan member. Leave people’s personal life alone. If you want to marry a shoe, like I said, I’ll marry it. Even though it’s an issue, this is not the forum for that. Whoever you want to marry, go right ahead.”

Freedom Party candidate Charles Barron felt he set himself apart from the other candidates Monday night. “I think I showed you tonight that I’m more than rhetoric at a rally and that I have substance on issues and can hold my own on the issues in this state,” he said.