NY1 and Time Warner Cable News in Albany are inviting Gov. Cuomo and his Democratic rival, Zephyr Teachout, to a live, hour-long Sept. 2nd debate that will air statewide and be hosted by NY1 Political Anchor Errol Louis and Capital Tonight Anchor Liz Benjamin.
Invitations have also been sent to Rep. Kathy Hochul and Tim Wu to participate in a separate debate for Lieutenant Governor on Sept. 3rd.
“NY1 and Time Warner Cable News are committed to a full discussion of the issues in the Democratic primary race and we’re looking forward to hearing what the candidates have to say,’’ said NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt. “Debate season is officially underway.”
Invitations were e-mailed to the campaigns earlier this afternoon – with an RSVP date set for Aug. 28th. Both the Teachout and Wu campaigns agreed to the debate – while the Cuomo and Hochul campaigns did not immediately respond to the invitations beyond acknowledging they had been received.
Two issues here:
First, Cuomo has minimized his public appearances even more than usual ever since the Moreland mess broke open with the NY Times story in July.
With his poll numbers stable, Cuomo has no strategic reason to debate and won't until/unless he sees a drop in his poll numbers.
Second, for some reason he's afraid of Errol Louis, the Road to City Hall host.
He has refused to appear on Louis' show and I doubt he'll break that streak by agreeing to a debate with Teachout moderated, in part, by Louis.
In short, he ain't coming out, folks - not unless he has to.
Cuomo is going to use the Rose Garden strategy here, sit on his lead, and use his money advantage to beat his GOP opponent Astorino to a pulp.
He's going to ignore his Democratic opponent Teachout - at least in public.
In private, they're worried about her or they wouldn't have been sending fake protesters with ties to the Cuomo campaign to her appearances.
But in order to get a real live Cuomo in this campaign (as opposed to the one who called into Maria Bartiromo for an interview that aired on tape last Sunday), we're going to have use some shame on him.
So let's shame him as much as we can - with tweets, with calls, with Facebook posts, with calls and letters to the newspapers and other media outlets.
May not work, since Cuomo seems without shame, but sure is worth a try.
UPDATE - 7:35 PM) - I should note that the other Time Warner Cable News reporter who would be moderating the NY1/TWC News debate is Liz Benjamin, another reporter Cuomo is scared of.
In fact, he's so scared of her, he had a flack put together a 35 page dossier on her:
A top aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo assembled a 35-page dossier on the work of an Albany political reporter considered hostile to his administration, highlighting any shred of criticism in a document that reflects the intense sensitivity of a governor on the brink of taking the national stage.The document was provided to BuzzFeed by a New York City political operative who said he believes it reveals Cuomo’s “scary dark side.” And the document does offer a glimpse into Cuomo’s obsessive and often difficult relationship with the media who cover him. Communications Director Richard Bamberger, who acknowledged preparing the document, called it “meaningless” and “garbage,” while warning that its leak set a “dangerous precedent.”
“This is a glimpse at the old Andrew Cuomo we all knew and hated,” said the New York City politico who provided the documents to BuzzFeed. “He has worked hard to keep this scary dark side at bay, but every now and again it reveals itself, and it’s ugly. The secret dossier on Liz Benjamin is the stuff of Richard Nixon and Eliot Spitzer.”
“One has to wonder if similar dossiers are being put together on other reporters,” he said.
Bamberger said that there are not files on other reporters. He also denied that the Benjamin document constituted a “file.”
Yeah - no way Cuomo's doing a debate he doesn't want to do with two media people he's terrified of.