Last night's first mayoral debate between incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Comptroller William Thompson showed both men in attack mode: Bloomberg went after Thompson's record heading the Board of Education and accepting donations from pension funds that the city uses while Thompson reminded voters how Bloomberg maneuvered for the term limits and extension and how he's spent $65 million on his campaign so far. You can watch the debate at NY1, but here are some highlights:
- Thompson on Bloomberg's wealth: "Can the richest man in New York City play by his own set of rules, while we play by a different set of rules?"
- Bloomberg on Thompson's education record: "The schools were much worse then. It was a failing school system"; "Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic — that is exactly what he did"
- Thompson on the term limits extension: "It is wrong. Mike Bloomberg lied to the people of New York City."
- Bloomberg on term limits: Noting that voters are facing issues about education, crime, and tough financial times, "No one is indispensable. But voters have a choice. And if that's their issue on Nov. 3, they can express themselves."
- Bloomberg on Thompson's acceptance of donations from pension funds the city invests with: "My opponent has taken something like $650,000 from people who manage the city's money. In return for which the city has gotten worse performance. That is no way to run a government."
- Thompson on Bloomberg's generous philanthropy: "The mayor has engaged in pay-to-endorse politics."
- On whether Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. is better than former Senate Majority Joe Bruno: Thompson said, "Yes," while Bloomberg said, "No."
- On whether President Obama had done enough on gay rights so far: Thompson said yes, while Bloomberg said no.
- On whether they had ever gotten a manicure or pedicure: Thompson said yes (but not recently) while Bloomberg said no.
- On whether Rudy Giuliani would make a good governor: Thompson said no, while Bloomberg said yes.
- Bloomberg saying something nice about Thompson: "He’s a great golfer, and we’ve done a lot of things together, and we’ve had good times together."
- Thompson saying something nice about Bloomberg: " think the mayor is well-dressed and his golf game has shown great improvement. At the same time, eight is enough."
"I thought it was a clear win for the mayor," said Bloomberg Campaign Spokesman Howard Wolfson. "He made a strong case for his own record and another four years as mayor and he talked about the areas in which Bill Thompson failed our city at the Board of Education and at the Comptroller's office."The next debate is October 27.
"Michael Bloomberg cannot hide behind his high-priced consultants and his millions of dollars of ads," said Thompson Campaign Manager Eduardo Castell. "He had to stand up here and discuss and debate the issues with Bill Thompson and I think we saw a great contrast today -- Bill Thompson talking about how he was going to put City Hall back on the side of the middle class, Bill Thompson talking about the importance of Democracy and keeping your word with term limits. Michael Bloomberg didn't have answers for those things."