With less than three weeks to go until the primary, the crowded field of Democrats running for mayor clashed over stop-and-frisk and health care issues Wednesday night in a live debate that aired on NY1. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
It was clear from the start: Bill de Blasio had a target on his back.
"Bill, you've been great the last few weeks on the hospital closures. But where were you for the first three years of your Public [Advocate tenure]?" said Democratic mayoral candidate John Liu. "It goes without saying."
"Let's be honest with the public tonight. If we're going to have a real conversation, let's tell the truth, Bill. No more of the flip-flop, or saying things when it's politically convenient for you," said Democratic mayoral candidate William Thompson. "Will the real Bill de Blasio please stand up?"
Some of the sharpest exchanges concerned stop-and-frisk, specifically, two bills the City Council is expected to pass Thursday over the mayor's veto that would create an NYPD inspector general and expand protections against racial profiling.
"Unlike the public advocate, who's really good at telling other people what to do but not always so good at getting things done himself, I tomorrow, I tomorrow will put legislation in effect that will have permanent monitoring of our police department."
During a cross-examination round, Thompson took exception with a de Blasio TV ad that claims he's the only candidate who will end the stop-and-frisk era.
"Bill, the New York Times has reported that that ad is inaccurate. Why don't you take that ad down, Bill?" Thompson said. "Stop lying to the people of New York City."
De Blasio responded that he supports both council bills and would replace Ray Kelly as police commissioner.
"I am the only candidate who will do the three things that will actually end the stop-and-frisk era," de Blasio said. "That is a fact, and I stand by it."
Quinn then ganged up on de Blasio.
"My question is to comptroller Thompson," she said. "I want to know if you're satisfied with the answer you just got."
Later, though, in a rare moment of peace, Quinn came to de Blasio's defense when Anthony Weiner asked if he was implicated in the slush fund scandal.
"Casting aspersions on the public advocate like that is just outrageous," she said.
Quinn's campaign got a boost after the debate as the Daily News endorsed her in the Democratic mayoral primary.
The candidates meet again in another televised debate a little less than two weeks from now.