The second debate between two Democratic candidates vying for the job of New York City’s comptroller — former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer — got highly personal Monday night with less than a month to go before the Democratic primary.
Stringer, the normally reserved candidate who looked to be on an easy path to victory before Spitzer’s entry last month, came out swinging. He accused Spitzer, at one point, of acting more like a Republican than a Democrat by electing not to participate in the public financing program.
He blasted Spitzer for “resigning in disgrace” in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal.
The New York Times said that Stringer caught Spitzer a bit “off balance.”
“So you talk a good game fighting for the middle class, but when it was on your watch, when you had an opportunity to make a difference for all the people who were in those mortgages, for the people who were trying to struggle to put food on the table in one of the greatest fiscal calamities of our generation, you dropped the ball, and you had to leave,” Stringer said, according to the Times.
“I got my hands dirty for 10 years,” in office, Spitzer responded.
“That you did,” Stringer replied.
Spitzer, in turn, wailed on Stringer for his support of the 2009 decision to overturn term limits and pave the way for Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for a third term.
“The reason why we had a third term is that the political establishment, with Scott’s support and participation, gave the mayor a third term,” Spitzer said, according to the Associated Press.
Spitzer also accused Stringer of relying on a prescription of personal attacks in the debate, saying he was using terms he didn’t “understand” and “misstating facts.”
“I think you should be better than that,” Spitzer said.
The Democratic primary is scheduled for Sept. 10. Spitzer has held rather comfortable single-digit leads in recent polls conducted by Siena College, Marist College, and Quinnipiac University.
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