Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Ed Koch Vs. Al D'Amato Vs. Mark Green

On speed bumps, lost dinner bets, and that time when Mark brought Al up on ethics charges.


Jennifer Senior: Greetings, gentlemen. Mr. Mayor, nice tie. Let's start with today's headlines: Dennis Mehiel, Carl McCall's choice for lieutenant governor, fathered two children out of wedlock . . .

Mark Green: It's a speed bump, not a car crash. But it was somewhat distasteful to implausibly and unpersuasively blame Andrew Cuomo's campaign for leaking it, and without any evidence.

J.S.: Mr. Mayor? You look skeptical.

Ed Koch: [Shrugging] Somebody leaked it.

Mark: Ed, it's crazy to think it was the Cuomo camp. Andrew could end up on a ticket with Dennis Mehiel this fall!

Al D'Amato: It doesn't help either Democrat, to be honest. But -- without naming names -- we have seen other men in office in similar situations, and guess what? They've gone on to be re-elected every time. The real concern is, have they taken care of that child? And Mehiel has.

J.S.: What happened to the candidacy of Andrew Cuomo? He seemed to have so much Clintonian potential: big ideas, sex appeal.

Al: It all goes back to the comment he made about Pataki holding Giuliani's coat.

Ed: He now says this was taken out of context. That's what people say when they don't have the courage to admit error. He could have used La Guardia's old line: "When I make a mistake, it's a beaut."

Mark: I love how conventional wisdom shifts with the polls. Until the latest from Quinnipiac, most unbiased commentators would have said that Cuomo was energetic, had a large inventory of ideas, and had made only a few mistakes out of the hundreds of thousands of words he's uttered. McCall is ahead because he's like a Democratic Pataki after 9/11. He's reassuring, he's comforting, and he has a real base among prime Democrats.

Al: I told Mario the other day, "Your son cost me a dinner." Because I bet Ed that Andrew would win. You know what he said? "Well, it's his first race . . . " Can you believe?

Mark: I'd like to make another point. Allow me to attack the press, like my mentor Spiro Agnew: Why isn't the media comparing the records and visions of these two? As usual, horse-race journalism has preempted analysis.

Al: Isn't that the job of the candidates? Why hasn't Cuomo been saying, "You know, my opponent talks about education. He was president of the Board of Education. Show me the scores -- "

Mark: He has.

Al: And on the other side, why hasn't McCall been saying, "Listen, you've been touting what you've done as Housing secretary -- "

Ed: "Show me the housing!"

Mark: Notice how Al has brilliantly squeezed in attacks on both candidates.

Al: [Beaming] I thought that was pretty good.

Mark: It was. But hey, if each trashed the other, the press would say, "Aha! A negative, in-the-gutter campaign."

Ed: That's not in-the-gutter; that's substantive.

J.S.: Speaking of dirty campaigns . . . Bob Torricelli is running for his life in New Jersey. Senator, you've had ethics charges filed against you before. By a person sitting at this very table, in fact . . .

Mark: Ed! You shouldn't have!

Al: Aw [nodding at Green], he's repented. Anyway. It's a tough thing. But I want to tell you something. Don't write him off. Torricelli is a fierce campaigner, and he delivers for his state.

J.S.: And now a question Mr. Green can personally address: Why does Mike Bloomberg want to revise the City Charter so that the public advocate -- once your job -- no longer succeeds the mayor?

Mark: I have no idea. But when he tries, without any public or legal demand, to change a 170-year precedent, it's a fight that does neither him nor the city any service. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Ed: Exactly. He's getting bad political advice.

J.S.: And his proposal to make city elections nonpartisan?

Ed: I'll tell you what Virginia Fields said in her testimony, and it makes sense: If you don't have party affiliation, the party doesn't support you with its funding -- and that harms minorities.

Al: Ugh. No, no, no. When we get into the business of who will be more empowered, whether it be minorities or nonminorities, that is deplorable. That is alien to me.

Mark: Al, it's the basis of the Voting Rights Act!

Al: Listen, in local elections, we should be running nonpartisan. There's no Republican or Democratic way.

Ed: Al, I love you like a brother, but you're all wet.


Current Issue
Subscribe to New York

Give a Gift