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The first debates

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
August 9, 2013 1:34:30 PM PDT
Fireworks erupted in our studio today. Political fireworks. What was perhaps the most important political debate for the long careers of both Eliot Spitzer and Scott Stringer.

The two men are running for the Democratic Party's nomination for New York City Comptroller. Each had much to prove in our debate that was taped today, streamed online, and will be aired on Sunday, August 11, at 11 a.m.

Stringer, the Manhattan Borough President, thought he was a shoe-in for the job, until Spitzer - the former New York Governor who resigned in disgrace after a prostitution scandal - decided to jump into the race.

Make no mistake, the Comptroller's job is huge - overseeing the City's nearly $140 million in pensions and with the authority and responsibility to audit the City's finances and review contracts. Huge.

Spitzer is an unusual applicant, given the jobs on his resume. But he's seeking political redemption and forgiveness, so the debate for him is his first mass exposure for that.

Stringer's challenge is to try to square up evenly with a man who has far more money and name recognition. He came out swinging in our debate.

It makes for lively television, yes. But more importantly, it gives the viewers a chance to see these guys - defending themselves and offering voters a reason to be elected.

Immediately after the Comptroller's debate, at noon on Sunday, you can watch the first TV debate involving the three Republican candidates for Mayor. Sade Baderinwa moderates that. And then on Tuesday night at 7, Aug. 13, I'll moderate the first TV debate of the Democratic Party candidates for Mayor. It figures to be lively.

We'll have previews, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we're in East Haven, Connecticut, where a small plane that took off from Teterboro, crashed into a home. The pilot's dead, and two kids in the house are still unaccounted for.

And a political brouhaha bubbling in Newark, where the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Steve Lonegan, sending out an ill-advised map of "Cory Booker's foreign policy debate prep notes."

What follows is a map of Newark, with the words, "West Africa, Guyana, Portugal, Brazil, Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Trinidad." Oy

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Amy Freeze (in for Lee Goldberg) with her weekend AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports.

I hope you can join Sade and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

BILL RITTER

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