NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Less than 24 hours after New York’s governor made a stunning and peculiar offer to debate his Republican opponent only on the radio, neither politician showed up.
After weeks of ducking and dodging, Andrew Cuomo suddenly agreed to debate Marc Molinaro, but there was a catch.
While speaking on WCBS 800 Friday morning, the governor told the station he’d come back at 8 a.m. on Saturday for an un-televised showdown with his challenger.
“I am here, you want to call me tomorrow I will be here. If you want to do it with Mr. Molinaro I will be here,” the governor said on the radio.
Molinaro scuffed at the offer to participate in an unplanned, “pop up” debate that’s not on TV or properly prepared.
“This is a fraud that he’s trying to perpetuate in order to check a box and say ‘I offered it, he doesn’t want it’,” Molinaro told CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer. “Give me a break, he doesn’t want to appear before the public because he can’t defend his record.”
The challenger added he was also worried that Jewish voters who celebrate the Sabbath would be left out of a potential Saturday morning debate.
Molinaro continued his attack on the seemingly empty gesture via Twitter. The Republican even compared Cuomo to the “Cowardly Lion” from “The Wizard of Oz.” He then threw down the gauntlet for the governor to face him on CBS2 in a one-hour, televised debate during the work week.
“On what planet does the incumbent governor get to dictate that voters come crawling to him at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning?” Molinaro said on the same radio station Friday.
So when the time came on Saturday morning, Molinaro and Gov. Cuomo were both nowhere to be found.
A spokesperson for Cuomo responded to Molinaro’s debate refusal in a statement Friday:
“Mr. Molinaro has refused the WCBS invitation on the theory that listeners need time to schedule listening to the debate. It is an absurd excuse… Welcome to 2018 and new technology – listeners now download and engage at their convenience. This situation vindicates what the governor has said all along, which is Mr. Molinaro only wants to “debate the debate.”
Unlike the primary campaign, where the governor met political newcomer Cynthia Nixon in a televised debate on CBS2, Cuomo has yet to engage his November opponent in the same political arena.
Cuomo cited a busy schedule and family obligations for his odd choice of a Saturday morning debate. He did not make it clear why a showdown with Molinaro would not be on TV.