De Blasio, Attacking Lhota, Dominates in First NYC Mayoral Debate

Bill de Blasio, not content to rest on a lopsided lead in the race for New York City mayor, relentlessly pounded his rival Joseph J. Lhota in their first televised debate on Tuesday, repeatedly linking him to what he called an obstructionist national Republican Party and the divisive mayoralty of Rudolph W. Giuliani.
October 16, 2013

Bill de Blasio, not content to rest on a lopsided lead in the race for New York City mayor, relentlessly pounded his rival Joseph J. Lhota in their first televised debate on Tuesday, repeatedly linking him to what he called an obstructionist national Republican Party and the divisive mayoralty of Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Shedding the traditional play-it-safe strategy of a front-runner, Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, dominated the hourlong confrontation, pursuing the last word in every exchange, pleading with the panelists for longer response times and throwing his less agile opponent off balance with pointed cross-examinations.

Mr. Lhota, a Republican, arrived determined to raise questions about Mr. de Blasio’s thin managerial resume, to portray him as an overly conciliatory liberal unprepared to face down crime and to depict his social agenda as ruinous to the city’s already shrinking middle class.

Instead, Mr. Lhota spent much of the evening defending the fare increases during his time as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, explaining why he met with Tea Party members on Staten Island and justifying his wish to delay the start of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

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