Hofstra University Pundit: Governor, Actress Threw Quite A Few Haymakers During Democratic Debate, But Status Quo Probably Remains

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Democratic candidates for governor of New York appeared together Wednesday night for the first and only debate before the primary.

It was a fiery, intense debate, filled with punches and counter-punches, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.

WATCH: Entire Debate Between Gov. Cuomo & Cynthia Nixon

They came out, shook hands, exchanged a few pleasantries and then the gloves came off. It was a debate so hot, it rivaled the sweltering temperature outside.

“Can you stop interrupting?” Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked at one point repeatedly.

“Can you stop lying?” actress Cynthia Nixon responded.

“As soon as you do,” Cuomo said.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon at the New York Democratic Gubernatorial debate at Hofstra University on Aug. 29, 2018. (credit: Craig Ruttle/Getty Images)

Some other memorable zingers:

“He used the MTA like an ATM,” Nixon said.

“My opponent lives in the world fiction. I live in the world of fact,” Cuomo said.

GALLERYNY Democratic Gubernatorial Debate

Gov. Cuomo and challenger Nixon fought like cats and dogs over everything from subways, corruption, health care and the right of public employees to strike, but one thing they kinda sorta agreed on was on a question posed by CBS2’s Kramer.

“Would you consider having the MTA cancel the planned fare hike for next year and have the state make up the short-fall?”

“I would support canceling the fare hike because the service is not what people deserve,” Cuomo said. “It has to be a joint funding responsibility between the city and the state.”

“Yes, I think it’s unconscionable that Gov. Cuomo is thinking about raising fares on a system that is working so poorly,” Nixon said.

Also unconscionable, Nixon said, was the exposed corruption in Gov. Cuomo’s administration.

“He shut down the Moreland Commission when it came too close to him,” Nixon said.

Then, it was tit for tat, charges that Nixon sought political favors from a politically connected “friend.”

“Cynthia Nixon called the mayor’s office and asked for favors for her friends,” Cuomo said.

“I asked for no favors for friends,” Nixon said. “What I asked for was for helicopters to stop flying over free Shakespeare in the Park,” Nixon said.

“That’s not a favor?” Cuomo asked.

Both camps tried to spin the debate as a win.

“We were all expecting a Tony Award-winning performance, but I think this one fell pretty flat,” Cuomo campaign manager Maggie Moran said. “There was no answer on experience, which I think is the most critical issue. We have a president who is ravaging our communities and this is not a time to work off a script.”

“No one’s gone toe-to-toe with Gov. Cuomo one on one for 12 years,” Nixon campaign adviser Rebecca Katz countered. “She went there. She didn’t let him go after her when it came to her life and her policy experiences.”

Hofstra University political pundit Larry Levy said he’s not sure how much was changed by the debate.

“He came here as the front-runner and he’s going to leave as the front-runner. She came here as relatively unknown. She’s (now) better known,” Levy said. “Whether interrupting the governor will score points for her, whether him trying to get back at her will hurt him, that remains to be seen.”

One of the few times Cuomo and Nixon agreed? Neither one wants New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s endorsement.

It’s important to note that this year’s New York State Primary has been moved from Tuesday to Thursday, Sept. 13. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.