NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The two men vying to replace Mayor Bill de Blasio met for the first of two debates Wednesday night.

When watching the debate, CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer was reminded of something Democrat Eric Adams said last week, accusing his Republican opponent, Curtis Sliwa, of running a circus campaign, one in which he was not buying the tickets to.

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The debate rules prevented Sliwa from any overt shenanigans inside the debate arena, so they took place outside.

Adams marched into the first debate of the general election with fist bumps for supporters and a broad smile on his face, but as far as showmanship was concerned, well, Team Sliwa pulled his pants down, so to speak, as the Naked Cowboy serenaded the crowd before Sliwa arrived, signature red beret firmly in place.

There wasn’t much the two men agreed on, starting with the first question about the vaccine mandate imposed by de Blasio.

“I believe the mayor’s action today was correct. I would have handled it differently. I would have sat down with my union members, and I would have sat down with those who are involved and we would have worked out a way we could come to an agreement,” Adams said.

“I disagree with Eric. I feel that we don’t have enough police officers as it is,” Sliwa said. “What did we do to the teachers? What did we do to the health care workers? We cheered them at night at seven, and then all of a sudden, we decided de Blasio — who has supported Eric Adams here, they’ve been a team — that all of a sudden, they would lose their jobs.”

The ex-cop and Guardian Angels founder fought about who is the better crimefighter.

“Please, please. I put my life on the line. I’ve been shot, stabbed, beaten in order to provide safer streets,” Sliwa said.

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“Listen, Mr. Sliwa acknowledged himself that he made up crimes, New Yorkers. That is a crime,” Adams said.

At one point, they were asked to supply a creative idea for bringing back the economy.

“Immediately, day one, I would put in place an order that we’re going to suspend all fines to our small businesses,” Adams said.

When asked about how to refill office space, Sliwa said, “We have to look at millions of square feet that are empty, commercial space, and we’re going to have to start repurposing it for affordable housing. Look at the Hudson Yards. What are we going to do, turn it into mausoleums?”

Congestion pricing? To Adams, it’s an idea whose time has come.

“We should also have waivers for those who must go into Manhattan, such as for chemotherapy or other basic items,” he said.

“How about we do something novel and stop trusting these politicians like Eric Adams and de Blasio, who are a tag team on this, like others before them, and put it up for an initiative referendum,” Sliwa said.

There’s one more debate to go before the election, which is exactly two weeks away.

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Next week, CBS2’s Maurice DuBois and Kramer will sit down with each of the candidates for a live conversation.

Marcia Kramer