POLITICAL THEATER

Cuomo, Paladino Clash in NY Debate

What do you get when you mix the state attorney general, a Tea Party insurgent, a former madam, a libertarian, a Black Panther-turned-city councilman, and someone from a party called the Rent Is Too Damn High? The New York gubernatorial race, or course, where all seven candidates faced off in Hempstead, New York, Monday night for the race’s first—and possibly only—debate. Zingers came from Kristin Davis, the convicted madam, and Jimmy McMillan, who represented the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, but all eyes were focused on the two mainstream party candidates: Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who holds a generous lead in the polls, and GOP Tea Partier Carl Paladino. Although Paladino has made a name for himself with his controversial rhetoric, he kept things civil throughout the debate, attacking Cuomo for supporting “big government,” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Albany corruption. Cuomo, who is the more established candidate—but has a history of making gaffes at unpredictable moments—worked ‘round the clock last week to prepare. While his answers remained fairly neutral, he came out in favor of gay marriage, and suggested the governor take over the MTA. Cuomo and Paladino never once addressed each other by name, and Cuomo was the only candidate to throw in a "Go Yankees!"