Debate in New York Governor Race Verges on Farce
UPDATE: Video on this page—it must be seen to be believed.
The moderators’ questions were frequently ignored. The candidates barely looked at one another. One wore black gloves and spoke of himself repeatedly in the third person. And Andrew M. Cuomo, the Democratic candidate and the race’s front-runner, at times struggled to suppress laughter.
The first — and possibly last — debate in the New York race for governor unfolded as 90 minutes of political theater verging on farce Monday night, with a format that allowed even cursory discussion of issues like taxes and schools to be interrupted by random one-liners and sometimes inexplicable answers.
Kristin Davis, a former prostitution madam, made frequent brothel jokes.
Jimmy McMillan, the candidate of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, responded to a question about same-sex marriage by declaring “If you want to marry a shoe, I’ll marry you.”
And Carl P. Paladino, the Republican candidate, startled those watching by accidentally walking off stage during the closing statements, in search of the men’s room.
“When you gotta go, you gotta go,” Mr. Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael R. Caputo, said afterward, by way of explanation.
Even Mr. Cuomo found it difficult to resist the increasingly giddy mood, lasting an hour and 15 minutes before finally cracking a smile and telling the audience he agreed with Mr. McMillan on one point.
“I’m with Jimmy,” Mr. Cuomo said laughing. “The rent is too damn high.”