Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic challenger Cynthia Nixon engaged in a heated debate focusing on corruption, personal finances and who would be better to battle President Donald Trump.
Who do you think won the debate?
Cuomo, a second-term incumbent, promised not to run for president in 2020 during the hour-long debate at Hofstra University on Wednesday, Aug. 29. Both candidates accused each other of interrupting and lying.
Cuomo was grilled about pushing to name the Tappan Zee Bridge after his father, a decision that remains controversial in the Hudson Valley. “The Tappan Zee Bridge is no more,” he said, noting that a "new bridge should get a new name." But during his response, he referred to the new bridge as "Tappan Zee Bridge" three times.
Nixon, an actor who starred in TV's "Sex and the City" cited her experience as a public-school parent and an activist for gay rights and education funding.
“I’m not an Albany insider like Governor Cuomo," Nixon said.
Cuomo said, “The governor of New York is not a job about politics, it’s not about activism. . . . It’s about doing."
Cuomo pledged to serve a full four-year term if he wins the Nov. 6 general election against Republican Marc Molinaro, Dutchess County executive.
"The only caveat is if God strikes me dead," Cuomo said. "Otherwise, I will serve four years as governor of the state of New York."
The primary election is Thursday, Sept. 13.
Cuomo said he's the best person to lead resistance to the Trump Administration's policies affecting New Yorkers, such as immigration, tax reform and health care.
"Today, you have to fight Donald Trump, who is the main risk to the state of New York," Cuomo said. "He is trying to change the rights and values of New Yorkers and the first line of defense is New York and the governor leads that fight and you need to know how to do it."
Nixon countered, "You stood up to (Trump) about as well as he stands up to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin."
Cuomo became frustrated with Nixon several times, saying: "Excuse me, can you stop interrupting me?"
"Can you stop lying?" Nixon replied.
"Yeah, as soon as you do," Cuomo said.
The governor was asked about the corruption conviction of South Salem resident Joseph Percoco, his former campaign manager and friend. Percoco "did something wrong and it was very painful," Cuomo said.
Cuomo suggested reforms the state should adopt to deal with corruption including no outside income, full financial disclosure and campaign-finance reform. "We have to take the money out of politics. It’s that simple,” he said.
Nixon said Cuomo should have done more to push for ethics reform during his first two terms.
Cuomo criticized Nixon about her taxes. The Manhattan actor collects most of her income through an S corporation.
"You are a corporation," Cuomo said. "When you file taxes as a corporation, you are a corporation."
Nixon said it's common for actors to form an S corporation.
"Are you a corporation?" Cuomo snapped.
"I am a person," Nixon said.
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