Political theater at gubernatorial debate

Lorne Michaels couldn’t have penned a more perfect script for the gubernatorial debate that took place at Hofstra University on Monday, October 18.
Immersed in what seemed to be a fictional cast of characters, Carl Paladino and Andrew Cuomo played second fiddle to the ranting Rent is Too Damn High Party candidate Jimmy McMillan, ex-madam Kristin Davis for the Anti-Prohibition Party and the sarcastic tone of Libertarian Party candidate Warren Redlich; all of whom had differing takes on how to get New York back on track.
They were also joined by Freedom Party candidate Charles Barron who had no problem telling those in attendance and watching at home that “Carl Paladino has no chance to win,” and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, who is in favor of taxing richer New Yorkers in order to create new revenues. It was the first – and possibly only – time all seven candidates on the November 2 ballot have appeared together on stage.
The pressure to make a good impression on New York voters fell on the shoulders of trailing Republican Party candidate Paladino who had recently threatened a New York Post reporter and made an unpopular case against gay marriage during a visit with Orthodox Jewish leaders in Borough Park on October 10. Campaign manager Michael Caputo told reporters before the debate that Paladino felt “calm” before his first-ever debate.
“Anything can happen,” said Caputo. “I’m on the edge of my seat just like you guys.”
After taking the stage, Paladino and Cuomo exchanged a handshake and sat down one seat apart from each other, separated by the sneaker wearing, catch-phrase saying McMillian, whose credo of “rent is too damn high” made it into each one of his responses, prompting laughter from those in attendance in the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex. Cuomo ignored accusations from Redlich about a $55,000 campaign contribution from a parking lot in Manhattan, a deal he considered to be shady. Redlich also took some time to introduce himself to voters who may have never heard of him.
“I’m not your typical New York politician. I’ve never been caught with a prostitute, my dad wasn’t governor and I’ve never been convicted of a crime, so you may not be used to me as a politician,” said Redlich.
Davis made it clear to voters that she would make every effort to legalize marijuana and casino gambling in New York to raise billions in revenue for the state. She also had a strong stand point on stock trading tax.
“To tax stock trade within New York will force businesses out of the state; it will kill thousands of jobs and decimate our economies. In fact, businesses will leave this state faster than Carl Paladino at a gay bar,” said Davis.
Through the firestorm of bizarre comments, Paladino and Cuomo hardly mentioned each other and stayed focused on the questions presented by News 12 anchors Doug Geed and Brian Conybeare and Newsday columnist Joye Brown.

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