The debate about debates is finally over. Cuomo and Molinaro are ready to rumble.
“On behalf of the 19 million New Yorkers who deserve answers… I happily accept the CBS debate,” Molinaro said.
The debate is sponsored by CBS2 and WCBS News Radio 880 Tuesday. Both men will be questioned about a wide range of issues important to New Yorkers, including fixing both the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Long Island Rail Road.
The mano-a-mano face off came after Cuomo, a deep-pocketed incumbent with a 23-point lead in the polls and little inclination to give his opponent any exposure, relented during a routine call to WCBS News Radio 880. He said he would debate Molinaro Saturday at 8 a.m. on the radio, a proposal Molinaro immediately nixed.
“The governor had absolutely no desire to debate me. Whether it was fear or arrogance, I don’t know that either is becoming of the chief elected officer of the state of New York,” Molinaro said.
Both men agreed when television was added to the mix.
“After days of ducking the debate, we’re glad Marc Molinaro has finally agreed. See you tomorrow,” Cuomo spokesperson Dani Lever said.
Molinaro lamented that the face-off was happening with such short notice for voters, adding other governors readily debate their challengers.
“There are governors who are well ahead of their opponents in other states that absolutely debate their opponents without hesitation, but not this one because he’s either afraid to defend his record or he’s just too arrogant to believe that he is to be questioned,” Molinaro said.
The debate is Cuomo’s first ever face-off with a general election opponent as governor. He debated primary opponent Cynthia Nixon before the Democratic primary this year.
Molinaro said he’s not worried about facing the more experienced two-term governor, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
“I’m comfortable on my feet and certainly able to make a case for myself,” Molinaro said. “It’s also an opportunity to hold the governor accountable.”
The debate comes two weeks to the day before voters go to the polls. The two will be questioned by Kramer and WCBS News Radio 880’s Rich Lamb.
You can watch the debate Tuesday at 7 p.m. on CBS2. We will also stream the debate on CBSNewYork.com and on our Facebook page.