After weeks of balking at requests to debate his opponents, Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed Friday to face off against his Republican challenger Marc Molinaro — on Shabbos via radio only.
Molinaro immediately rejected the proposal as insensitive to religious Jews and a political stunt by Cuomo.
The back-and-forth comes after Molinaro and the other three candidates have spent weeks calling on Cuomo to agree to a debate before the Nov. 6 election.
Cuomo was being interviewed Friday on WCBS radio when the hosts, Wayne Cabot and Paul Murnane, asked if he would participate in a Saturday debate at 8 a.m. Cuomo agreed, but said he would need to cancel a planned visit to one of his college-aged daughters.
“You want to call me tomorrow, I will be here,” Cuomo said. “If you want to do it with Mr. Molinaro, I will be here.”
Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, called the offer “a fraud,” noting Jews would be unable to listen to the debate.
“Jewish voters are not an afterthought, but that’s exactly how Andrew Cuomo is treating these important New Yorkers in preposterously suggesting a last-second Shabbat morning radio debate,” he said.& “He ought to be ashamed of himself.”
He accused Cuomo of trying to dictate terms “as if he’s the Sheriff of Nottingham.”
Cuomo said Friday he’s doesn’t see much value in debating Molinaro, whom he accused of not running a “substantive” campaign, just an “ultra-conservative diatribe.”