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The first debate

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
October 15, 2013 1:41:52 PM PDT
The hard truth about this election for New York Mayor is that many New Yorkers don't know who Joe Lhota or Bill de Blasio are. That will begin to change tonight. Their first debate - here on Ch. 7 at 7 p.m. I'll be the moderator, and I hope you watch - either as it happens or later on 7online or our Eyewitness News app.

The election is 3 weeks from today, as New Yorkers vote for the man who will become their 109th mayor. The last time they elected a Democrat - in a city where Dems outnumber Republicans by about 6-to-1 - was 1989, during the first year of the Presidency of the first George Bush.

De Blasio is trying to change that. Lhota will try to keep the streak alive. But it's an uphill battle, if you believe the public opinion polls. The last one, last week, shows Mr. de Blasio with a 44 percent lead.

So what does each candidate have to do? First - win the debate. Mr. Lohta's challenge is to take on Mr. de Blasio - and try to reduce that huge lead in the polls. He will likely criticize him for never having managed a big organization. But he's got to walk a careful line. If Lhota goes on too much of an attack - he risks not looking like a mayor.

Mr. de Blasio's challenge is to not make any major gaffes - but address the criticisms that Lhota will surely aim his way. And he'll criticize him for wanting to continue the legacies of Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg. De Blasio is running on getting away from those legacies.

Mr. Lohta has never been elected to office. But remember the first elected office held by both Giuliani and Bloomberg - was Mayor of New York.

Either way it figures to be a lively debate. Nothing less than the future of the country's biggest city is at stake. I hope you can join us.

And we'll have an analysis and wrap up of the debate, tonight at 11. Also at 11, Diana Williams' exclusive interview with President Obama, as the nation ticks closer to defaulting on its debt. Gulp.

And one more note about politics. Who says it's never too early to run? Today at a speech, Hillary Clinton was asked about the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. She made it clear that she gave the thumbs up, while Vice President Biden, who also may run for President in 2016, was opposed.

Just sayin'.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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