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Received an-email today from Bill de Blasio's )D_ campaign reminding me that tonight de Blasio faces off against Joe Lhota (R) in their first debate:
Tonight's the first major TV debate of the general election, and if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on some nasty nonsense and attacks coming from the other side.

We all know how well the Republican Party is behaving these days.

It's going to feel like they're throwing the kitchen sink at our guy.

Bill's tough, and he can take it. But there are people and families out there counting on the next mayor to change this city so that it works for all New Yorkers, no matter what neighborhood they live in.

They need a mayor who will tax the wealthy to fund a pre-k seat for every child and after-school programs that keep our kids safe. A mayor who will make affordable housing a priority, and keep hospitals out of the hands of big developers and open for care.

If we each do our part -- if we stay focused and work harder than ever before between now and Election Day on November 5th, we'll elect a mayor who will be a voice for those too often forgotten by City Hall -- a mayor for all New Yorkers.

Do your part:

The debate airs live on WABC at 7 PM.

Ready for the kitchen sink?


PS: Your fellow Team de Blasio supporters are hosting debate watch parties all over this city tonight. If you haven't RSVP'ed to the one in your neighborhood yet, do it now so you don't miss out:

You can click here to RSVP:

It sounds like Lhota has really prepared himself for tonight's debate:

So how does Mr. Lhota, the Republican, score points against his Democratic opponent, Bill de Blasio, in the first of three debates?

We asked one of the journalists who will be asking the questions, Jennifer Fermino of The Daily News.

Body language is crucial, she said.

“Lhota might address de Blasio directly a little more,” Ms. Fermino said.

“That’s probably something the campaigns are talking about — ‘Should you look at him?’”

The show starts at 7 p.m. on WABC-TV. Our Times colleagues Michael Barbaro and Michael M. Grynbaum have prepared a handy guide.

Debates present challenges for panelists, too — especially print reporters unaccustomed to TV.

In August, The Times’s David W. Chen told us he prepared for a mayoral debate by having his daughters choose his outfit.

Ms. Fermino recalled that for two earlier debates, she had worn black dresses, despite a caution from her mother about how that would look.

Mom was right: a councilman asked her if she had worn the same dress twice. - New York Times, 10/15/13

It's understandable, Lhota really needs to score some major points tonight:

De Blasio, who has a 3-1 lead in the polls and a hefty war chest three weeks before the election, is a disciplined candidate unlikely to make a major misstep, so Lhota can bank only on slightly narrowing the public opinion gap, experts contend.

"De Blasio's screwing up probably would be more important at this point than Lhota doing well," said Michael Krasner, Queens College associate professor of political science.
Lhota himself agreed that Tuesday night's faceoff is a turning point in the race.

"I'll be going toe-to-toe with Bill de Blasio. His vision for the future, my vision for the future," the Republican said Monday after marching in Manhattan's Columbus Day parade.

"We will be able to see how different they are, and I'm comfortable that the majority of New Yorkers will side with me, because they already have in all the polls when they talk about the issues." - Long Island Newsday, 10/14/13

But hey, if Lhota d=fails at this debate, he always has the last one to look forward to:

NBC 4 New York is hosting the final debate Oct. 29 at 7 p.m

When asked what his debate strategy would be, Lhota simply replied: "to win."

It may take a clear cut victory to reverse the feeling of inevitability that surrounds de Blasio, who is looking to become the first Democrat to be elected mayor since 1989. Many of the industries that normally back Republicans, like the real estate and financial sectors, have been wary of alienating de Blasio, who they see as the likely mayor, and have yet to give much in the way of financial support to Lhota.

Lhota has also been dogged by associations to the national Republicans, who polls suggest are being blamed for the federal government shutdown. And his top supporter, former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, is a polarizing figure in the city he used to govern and has not campaigned for Lhota since the primary.

De Blasio, meanwhile, has received endorsements from figures ranging from President Barack Obama to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose 2000 Senate campaign was run by de Blasio, will be hosting a fundraiser for the public advocate this month.

Up big in the polls, de Blasio has run a classic front-runner's campaign, rarely appearing at public events where he could commit a gaffe. He defended his streamlined public schedule on Monday.

"I am very proud of what we've done throughout this campaign, having been out there in every neighborhood with every kind of New Yorker," de Blasio told reporters at the parade. He and Lhota did not cross paths along the route. - NBC 4, 10/15/13

Be sure to check out the debate tonight!

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by New York City and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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