Pataki Agrees to Debate, but on a Crowded Stage

Pataki Agrees to Debate, but on a Crowded Stage
Posted by CN Staff on October 12, 2002 at 10:57:44 PT
By James C. McKinley Jr.
Source: New York Times 
For the first time in his three campaigns for governor, George E. Pataki will debate his opponents tomorrow. But he has insisted on including all seven of the candidates actively running, ensuring a cluttered event in which challengers will have a hard time distinguishing themselves.The debate was not put together without a hitch. On Thursday, Mr. Pataki threatened to pull out when the producers at WABC-TV said they wanted to seat him between his two leading opponents, H. Carl McCall and Tom Golisano. 
The Pataki campaign said it would participate only if the candidates drew for seats, and the television producers ultimately agreed. Now the three main candidates will be sprinkled among the candidates for the Right to Life, Libertarian, Green and Marijuana Reform Parties."This is not a debate," said Steven Greenberg, a spokesman for the Democratic challenger, Mr. McCall. "This is a town hall discussion. George Pataki is clearly afraid of debating Carl McCall in a serious fashion."Michael McKeon, a spokesman for the Republican governor, said the Pataki campaign had not tried to manipulate the format to make it harder for the Democrat and Mr. Golisano, 60, a conservative billionaire running on the Independence Party line, to gain attention."We thought a random drawing for position as well as the closing statements was the most fair thing to do," he said.A crowded forum benefits the incumbent in several ways. For starters, voters disposed to vote against the incumbent governor may be attracted to one of the minor-party candidates rather than to the Democratic challenger or a strong third-party candidate like Mr. Golisano. In addition, the more candidates there are, the less time each has to speak, making sharp exchanges over Mr. Pataki's record less likely.For Mr. McCall, 66, a one-on-one format would have sent a message to voters that the race was a clear-cut choice between the two major-party candidates. Even having Mr. Golisano in the mix would have been better for the Democrat than a stage full of candidates known to few voters, political strategists said."It diminishes McCall's stature at the same time it elevates Pataki by reminding voters and viewers that he's the only governor on the platform," said Richard Schrader, a Democratic consultant not involved in the race. "The noise level will drown out McCall's message."Mr. Pataki, 57, has switched his position on debates since 1994, when he ran against Gov. Mario M. Cuomo. Mr. Cuomo refused to debate unless the minor-party candidates were included. At the time, Mr. Pataki rejected the terms, saying that Governor Cuomo just wanted the other candidates included to deflect attention from his record and that opening the debates to all candidates would confuse voters.The 90-minute debate tomorrow is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Channel 7. The candidates will be seated, with Mr. McCall on the far left and Mr. Golisano on the far right. Mr. Pataki will be third from the left, with the Right to Life candidate, Gerard J. Cronin, between him and Mr. McCall. The three other small-party candidates will separate the governor from Mr. Golisano. Each candidate will be given a minute to answer each question from a panel of four journalists and a minute to sum up. For the minor-party candidates, the debate is a chance to inform voters directly about their platforms, even if in a hurried way."It's overdue," said the Green Party candidate, Stanley Aronowitz, 69, a sociology professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. "The fact of the matter is we should have been covered with the major parties all along."Mr. Aronowitz favors closing all nuclear reactors in the state, raising the minimum wage, repealing the death penalty and getting rid of the state's long mandatory drug sentences. He also wants to raise taxes for the rich to pay for free tuition at state colleges and for state-financed health insurance. "When you don't talk about taxes, what you say is hollow," he said.The Libertarian candidate is Scott Jeffrey, 34, a software developer from Park Slope, Brooklyn. He has run on legalizing marijuana and easing government regulations over guns and drinking.  Mr. Cronin, 40, the Right to Life candidate, is a teacher who writes for The Tablet, the weekly Catholic newspaper for the Diocese of Brooklyn. He is running on the single issue of outlawing abortion. Thomas K. Leighton, 51, a photographer who is the candidate for the Marijuana Reform Party, is running on a three-part platform: legalizing marijuana for medical use, revamping the drug laws so that drug use is handled as a medical problem, and allowing farmers to grow hemp for industrial purposes."If people simply know we are on the ballot, they will come out and vote for us," Mr. Leighton said. Source: New York Times (NY)Author: James C. McKinley Jr.Published: October 12, 2002Copyright: 2002 The New York Times Company Contact: letters Website: Related News BriefGov. Debate Set For SundayThe first debate between an incumbent New York governor and his challengers in well over a decade is scheduled to take place Sunday on WABC-TV.Invited to participate in the debate are not only Republican Gov. George Pataki and his Democratic challenger, State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, but also five third-party candidates. One, Independence candidate Tom Golisano, is well known from the more than $30 million in advertising he has bought. The others are: Gerard Cronin, the Right-to-Life candidate; Stanley Aronowitz, the Green candidate; Thomas Leighton, the Marijuana Reform Party candidate; and Scott Jeffrey, the Libertarian candidate.The 90-minute debate, sponsored by ABC and the Daily News, airs at 11 a.m. Sunday. Source: Newsday (NY)Author: Jordan RauPublished: October 12, 2002Copyright: 2002 Newsday Inc.Contact: letters newsday.comWebsite: Links:WABC -TV Jeffrey Reform Party of New York -TV Television on Yahoo Fires Up Campaign for Pot Use Drops the Ball on Drug-Law Reform
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Comment #5 posted by p4me on October 12, 2002 at 14:15:50 PT
My mistake their DdC,I thought you were Jeffrey
The way that comment1 read I thought DdC was Scott Jeffrey. My mistake. I hope you see what I am saying about how cannot work fairly when the winner does not even have to have a majority. Of course, I do not know how it works in NY, and maybe someone will fill us in.DAD-D,1,2
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Comment #4 posted by DdC on October 12, 2002 at 13:49:24 PT
p4me I think more people need to vote...
I've always held it that the cannabis movement is too fraggmented. MMJ, Hempsters and stoners, recreational and religious. Also the victims of the alternatives to using organic cannabis need to join in solidarity. As well as the victims of WoD, and their families. If the two major parties are both against cannabis, and pro WoD, then they are not two parties. I suspect this is not so much to win the guber race, as it is to include cannabis in the debate. Having two pro cannabis speakers can't hoit! I think we should get over trying to fix a crooked two party system and go back to the Constitution. If money influences who wins a race, then remove it. I'm not a Libertarian or Green and think many times they cancel each other out, or act as the lunitic fringe of the two major status weirds. But at the very least they keep the two majors alert and hopefully more honest. If there isn't a threat they get too complacent and powerful after a while. Like they have been the past 30 years, probably 80 years. As for the percentage and who wins in NY. I don't know. I'm in Santa Cruz...We elect city councils and whoever wins more than once, takes a turn at being mayor. In cali Davis is an idiot, but not the Nazi, Goulini lapdog crook Simon is. Greens and Libertarians can be as Fascist as the crats and reps so I think the issues are more important than the messengers. When the people lead, the leaders will follow.Peace, Love and Liberty or the Freaky!...DdCI never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.--Thomas Deceptions Qaeda! Wally
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Comment #3 posted by p4me on October 12, 2002 at 12:10:16 PT
I have a question for DdC
Does the person that gets the most votes on November 5th win the governor's race or is their a run-off? And if the the winner doesn't have 50+% don't you feel that it just fragments people that are turned off to the two parties that now dominate?Look at Brazil- they will be having a run-off in a couple of weeks because the election a week or so back did not give anyone a majority. Do you feel the electorial college needs to be reduced to a direct vote like Brazil and a winner has to have the votes of over half the people? Isn't this an issue that is in need of answering for all Americans, as well as the Americans of New York?DAD-D,1,2
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 12, 2002 at 11:51:15 PT
Thanks DdC!
I really had to think about this article and when I wasn't so tired this morning I realized this is very important to post. I'm going to watch it on Direct TV and it looks like it might be on WABC -TV Television on Yahoo: hope they allow them to spend some time on marijuana issues. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 
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Comment #1 posted by DdC on October 12, 2002 at 11:45:29 PT
Scotty J. Debating Pataki and McCall on WABC-TV
Date: 6 Oct 2002 21:50:12 -0000
From:"Scott Jeffrey" scottyj 
Subject: LZ News: Debating Pataki and McCall on WABC-TV this Sunday   11amI am thrilled to announce that I have been invited to the gubernatorial debates. The first will be this Sunday, October 13 from 11:00am to 12:30pm on WABC-TV.Clearly this is a tremendous opportunity for our campaign to get our message out across the Empire State. I am looking forward to discussing my views on the standard issues of the state budget, education and jobs. I will be certain to present our Empower Youth agenda as well.Please be sure to watch and cheer me on!-- Scott Jeffrey -- Legalize Founder and President -- Libertarian for GovernorEmpower Youth / Legalize Marijuana / Choice in Educationscottyj, /
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