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Nixon, Cuomo Spar, Talk Over Each Other in Their One Debate

No clear winner in sole debate that will be held before Democratic primary
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 30, 2018 12:01 AM CDT
Nixon, Cuomo Spar, Talk Over Each Other in Their One Debate
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo answers a question as Democratic New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon looks on during a gubernatorial debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, Pool)

(Newser) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon swapped insults and clashed over policy Wednesday in their only scheduled debate before the Sept. 13 Democratic primary. While the testy, hourlong exchange at Hofstra University featured plenty of interruptions and insults, neither candidate landed the political equivalent of a knockout blow likely to significantly alter the race, the AP reports. Cuomo did make news during the debate, saying in response to a question about his political future that he plans to serve a full four years and will not run for president if elected to a third term. Cuomo had been considered a potential presidential contender. Read on for highlights:

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  • Nixon, a longtime liberal activist, went after the incumbent early in the debate, calling Cuomo corrupt and a liar. She accused him of empowering Republicans in Albany and not doing enough to address political corruption, income inequality, or New York City's aging subways. Cuomo responded by saying Nixon "lives in a world of fiction" and doesn't understand the challenges of leading the nation's fourth largest state.
  • In the exchange the New York Times used for its headline, Cuomo asked, "Can you stop interrupting?" Nixon shot back: "Can you stop lying?" After a pause, Cuomo responded, "As soon as you do." The Times notes they talked over each other for much of the debate.
  • Nixon trails Cuomo in both fundraising and at the polls, but the Times gave her good marks on her performance: In her "first-ever political debate," Nixon "delivered cutting lines with comfort and ease." But she didn't goad Cuomo to any gaffes, and Hofstra University political scientist Craig Burnett says there was no clear winner.
  • Nixon did, however, bring up Cuomo's recent "[America] was never that great" gaffe, CNN reports. For his part, Cuomo attempted to paint President Trump, not Nixon, as his true political enemy, the site notes.
  • One area of agreement: Neither Nixon nor Cuomo would say that they were seeking the endorsement of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a friend of Nixon's with whom Cuomo has often sparred.
  • Before the debate, the temperature of the room it was to be held in was making headlines.
  • For more, the New York Times offers a fact check of the debate.
(Read more Cynthia Nixon stories.)

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