POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — New York Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo is refusing to commit to more debates before next month's election.
Cuomo, the state attorney general, debated with Republican rival Carl Paladino and five minor party candidates Monday night. The debate was widely panned as political theater with little substance.
Cuomo says he felt it was fair that every candidate on the ballot be allowed to participate.
He says his campaign had originally pressed for a one-on-one debate with Paladino, who has dominated the news in recent weeks by threatening a newspaper reporter and suggesting children could be brainwashed into being gay.
Cuomo acknowledges the campaign has been notable for "bizarre moments," but says he has tried to stick to substance.
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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — Republican Carl Paladino said Monday's debate had a "terrible format" and he wants a better chance to grill Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the front-runner in the race to be New York's next governor.
Paladino on Tuesday called for more debates in the last two weeks of the campaign, including one upstate. He told WOR-AM that he consulted with the five minor party candidates in the race and they agree at least one more debate is needed.
Cuomo's campaign declined to comment. Cuomo, the state's attorney general, was in Poughkeepsie on Tuesday, continuing his stump speech on the need to cut New York's taxes. His plan includes consolidating small government entities, including towns, villages, and fire districts.
The seven-way debate Monday at Hofstra University on Long Island was unwieldy, giving only a minute or so for answers, less time for rebuttals, and no direct engagement between Paladino and Cuomo. Their responses were separated by those of Jimmy McMillan, the candidate for the Rent is 2 Damn High party.
Paladino didn't say how the format should be changed, but indicated he still wants the minor party candidates involved. Paladino first challenged Cuomo to daily debates on Sept. 14, but Cuomo has accepted just one.
"Andrew thinks he does much better with the voters when he avoids debates, but New Yorkers are catching on to that strategy," Paladino said.
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