In their first face-to-face debate, Bill de Blasio and Joseph Lhota slammed each other as wrong for the post-Bloomberg New York, with events outside the city playing a large role. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Bill de Blasio really wants to remind you about his opponent's political party.
During the first televised debate between him and Joseph Lhota Tuesday night, de Blasio mentioned "the Republican playbook" and "the same extremist Republicans" while referring to Lhota.
Lhota is a Republican, but blasts the national party.
"Where I don't agree with the national Republican party is long and hard," he said. "Do not lump me with the national Republicans. It's unbecoming."
For his part, Lhota stressed that he's the one with management experience. He warned that de Blasio is untested, raising the potential of increased crime on his rival's watch.
Money-wise, Lhota also warned voters not to be fooled by de Blasio's call for higher taxes on high-income earners. De Blasio wants to use them to pay for pre-kindergarten and after-school programs.
"Bill de Blasio is a career politician, and every career politician that ever says they're only going to raise taxes on the wealthy ends up also raising taxes on the middle class," Lhota said.
Lhota generally didn't dwell on his time at City Hall as a deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration, but De Blasio repeatedly mentioned it for him.
"Mr. Lhota was a top aide to Rudolph Giuliani. The most divisive administration we've seen in decades, the Giuliani administration, and Mr. Lhota had a ringside seat," de Blasio said.
Issue-wise, they sparred over charter schools. Lhota wants more, while de Blasio wants the same and is calling for some to pay rent.
FreshDirect's bid for a Bronx headquarters divided them. Lhota says the tax subsidies saved jobs. De Blasio thinks it's a giveaway.
When asked about Mayor Michael Bloomberg's comment that it would be a godsend for the city if more billionaires moved here, de Blasio said, "I guess when he said that, Mayor Bloomberg was feeling lonely," and Lhota said. "I have no idea what Mike Bloomberg was talking about. I think his words were quite insensitive."
The pair face off again next Tuesday. In all, they're slated to meet three times.