Before their second debate tonight, both New York City mayoral candidates are trying to adjust their tone—in their ads, in handling the press and in talking about a riot in the city from twenty years ago.
Republican Joe Lhota has been facing criticism from the right that he wimped out in the first debate last Tuesday. Nicole Gelinas complained in the New York Post that “on critical topics, Lhota punted.”
On policing, the moderator lobbed him a softball: “Is New York City going to be less safe with [Bill de Blasio]?”
Lhota should’ve said yes. Instead, he paused before settling on: “It might be less safe with him.”
Lhota’s been trying to make up for such errors ever since. “I will have a different tone” in tonight’s debate, he promised yesterday.
And he overcompensated for any perceived mildness with a highly inaccurate, much disputed ad insisting that Democrat Bill de Blasio will hurl the city back to the bloody, crime-ridden days of the ’70s and ’80s.
And in an interview with Juan Manual Benitez of the Spanish-language NY1 Noticias, Lhota also came out sounding annoyed. From The Politicker:
Mr. Lhota grew infuriated when Mr. Benitez cited anonymous former subordinates who claimed they would never work for Mr. Lhota again. (In his defense, when Politicker profiled Mr. Lhota earlier this year, his former employees had nothing but praise for him.)