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NYC Mayoral Debate Goes Gay


A hot topic entered Tuesday night's mayoral debate in New York City when candidates Michael Bloomberg and William C. Thompson Jr. were asked whether they thought President Obama has done enough for gay rights.

"No," replied Bloomberg, the incumbent mayor running on the independent and Republican Party lines.

"Yes," said Thompson, the city comptroller and Democratic nominee.

Last week, Thompson received an understated endorsement from the White House.

Thompson prefaced his answer with the qualifier, "He's been there nine months," but strictly speaking, only a one-word "yes" or "no" answer was allowed because it was the lightning round portion of the debate.

Relevant to LGBT issues in New York state, moderator Dominic Carter of NY 1 News also asked the candidates, "Would Rudy Giuliani be a good governor?"

"Yes," said Bloomberg, to an audible gasp from the crowd. Thompson said "no."

Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, is considered a potential Republican contender for governor in 2010. He opposes same-sex marriage, which Mayor Bloomberg supports.

Carter also asked about the state senate, "Is Pedro Espada a better senate majority leader than Joe Bruno?"

"No," said Bloomberg, preferring Bruno, the Republican former majority leader, who announced his support for marriage equality after retiring last year.

Thompson said "yes," in a statement of support for Espada, the Democrat whose temporary switch of allegiance to the Republicans disrupted senate business for weeks in June, and scuttled the season's high hopes for a vote on the marriage equality bill.

On a lighter note, the candidates were asked whether they ever had a manicure or a pedicure.

"Not recently, but, yes," said Thompson.

"No," said Bloomberg.

"Never?" asked Carter.

"Don't think so," said Bloomberg. "Do it myself."

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Julie Bolcer