Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio battled last night over policing, taxes, charter schools and affordable housing, but their second debate erupted into a heated argument over an anti-deBlasio ad.
The spot cycles through photos of a once crime-plagued city, with a voice over saying, “Bill de Blasio's recklessly dangerous agenda on crime will lead to this.”
De blasio, who holds a commanding 3-1 lead over his Republican rival, accused Lhota of "fear-mongering," "race-baiting" and resurrecting former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's divisive policies.
Lhota, snapped back: "There is nothing race-baiting or fear-mongering about it."
"His ad depicted racial imagery," de Blasio pressed. "Anyone who looks at that ad knows what he's up to."
Lhota, a one-time deputy mayor under Giuliani, said his former boss was good for the city. "What color is the sky on your planet?" Lhota asked de Blasio.
The Republican recalled that there were 2,000 murders under former Mayor David Dinkins, noting "that was the last time we had a race riot." De Blasio was an aide to Dinkins.
The candidates agreed on several issues: legalizing gambling, not expanding the use of green cabs and building a residential complex along the East River below the Brooklyn Bridge.
Maurice, we have a Kumbaya moment, de Blasio joked to WCBS-TV moderator Maurice Du Bois at one point.
With two weeks before the Nov. 5 election and one more debate set for Tuesday, the candidates sparred over familiar issues such as the NYPD's controversial stop and frisk policy, Lhota wants to keep it, de Blasio to modify it; charters schools, Lhota would expand them, de Blasio rein them in; and taxes, de Blasio would tax those earning more than $500,000 a year to fund prekindergarten, Lhota would not raise taxes to fund early education.