Reporters are trapped in the Green Room here at WABC studios, but the candidates, we are told, are about to walk on stage.
2:00: The debate begins with the candidates already on stage.
First question is from Dave Evans for Dan Donovan and has to do with how he would clean up Albany.
Donovan touts a plan for member item transparency, and for legislators to disclose outside income. “We will bring transparency.”
Schneiderman touts his own record, says voters should look at someone who has a “demonstrated record,” again talks about kicking out Hiram Monserrate. Ties himself to Andrew Cuomo
Donovan immediately attacks, points out that Schneiderman’s reform bill excluded lawyers, says Paterson vetoed that bill for good reason.
Schneiderman: “My opponent has the facts wrong as he frequently has throughout this campaign.”
2:05: A follow up from Evans: How did Pedro Espada become a leader in the Democratic majority. Schneiderman talks about Gustavo Rivera. Donovan says that Schneiderman negotiated Espada coming back to the Senate, says he “puts politics ahead of the people.”
Schneiderman: Again my opponent has the facts wrong. Every day I come up with a public policy idea, he comes out with a smear on me.
Both say that Alan Hevesi should lose his pension.
Neither seem too happy to be at this debate, I must say.
2:09: A question about bias attacks. Schneiderman says role his about looking at best practices from around the country and giving that information to local DA’s. Donovan says he prosecuted very first hate crime on Staten Island. Talks about adding Spanish language lawyers to his staff.
A follow-up for Donovan about what he would do about undocumented immigrants who are crime victims. ” I have made a pledge to the immigrants of Staten Island that I would never ask them about their immigration status” if they are victims of a crime or come forward to report a crime.
A question about crime stats on Staten Island. Donovan says murders are way down, and rapes are being better reported.
A question for Schneiderman, about giving Rev. Al Sharpton an annex in the AG’s office. Schneiderman says his opponent is running a “smear campaign,” by calling him a radical, says his ideology is the same as Chuck Schumer and Andrew Cuomo.
Donovan mentions his time in Robert Morganthau’s office, says he cannot speak about Carl Paladino, and mentions how he can’t talk about Eric Schneiderman’s hit-and-run (wink wink.)
Schneiderman says he is misreading the rules against D.A.’s Donovan now says that Paladino’s emails are offensive to anyone who sees them. Schneiderman hits him on having $75k of illegal campaign contributions.
Neither Donovan or Schneiderman say that they have hired an undocumented worker.
Donovan says he does not support the Arizona immigration law, says federal government should set immigration rules.
Schneiderman says state AG can deliver a national message on immigration policy.
2:24: A question for Schneiderman about why he keeps talking about abortion, since it is the law of the land. Schneiderman says that AG’s office can be the front-line defense to freedom of choice. “If you think that is not under attack now at the national level,” you are wrong. Talks about working at a family planning clinic as a teenager in Washington D.C.
Donovan says abortion laws will never change in this state. Says not one woman on Staten Island had her reproductive health care impeded on while he was D.A. there. REframes question: “Do you want someone who has been an Albany insider for the past 12 years.”
Adds that if someone’s reproductive rights were being impeded that he would take action. Schneiderman tells him to open his eyes.
A question about Rockefeller reform. Donovan says he favors the 2004 reform. Schneiderman says those only went “part way.”
2:31: A question about Wall Street for Donovan. He says “I don’t want to be the sherrif of anything.” Adds that he will not run for higher office, will root out corruption whereever he finds it.
Schneiderman: Says he does want to be multiple sherrifs: Wall Street, Main Street, State Stret. “I will be fair, but I will be tough on financial misconduct.”
Donovan says he will root out corruption where ever it lies, says you can root out corruption without destroying Wall Street. Schneiderman raises Cuomo’s record again
Will Schneiderman run for higher office? He laughs and says he definitely will not run for governor, looks forward to “doing other things.”
2:34: A question about foreclosures. Schneiderman says he held first hearings in state about mortgage fraud. Donovan says he actually prosecuted mortgage fraud cases, his opponent has not because he has never been a prosecutor.
A follow up for Schneiderman about banking regulations. Schneiderman says that he is not attorney general who wants to hang out bad guys to dry. Donovan says consumer protection bureau of AG’s office can have “a great voice.”
A question about the Tyler Clementi case. How would AG Donovan crack down on cyber-bullying. “We have to take measures to protect people from all crimes on the Internet.” Says “parents have to get really educated on how to use these machines.” Adds that “I’ve never been bullied but I’m not a real Internet person.”
2:39. Schneiderman says he was bullied as a little kid. “No child should be afraid to go to school.” Mentions his teenage daughter. Donovan: “I have not been bullied and I have never bullied anyone either.”
A question about the MTA. Schneiderman says the MTA has been a “wasteland.” “I can’t wait to get in there as attorney general and clean it up.”
Donovan talks about the AG getting jurisdiction over corruption no matter it lies. “I have led an office of prosecutors over the last seven years.”
Schneiderman is asked about the commuter tax, which he voted for, but says he opposes: “Sometimes in government you have to make hard choices.”
Donovan says the state has to be more business-friendly.
2:49: A question for Schneiderman about concern upstate residents have about the NYC-dominated Democratic ticket. Schneiderman talks about de-centralizing AG’s office, wants a public integrity officer in every regional office.
Donovan says that a Schneiderman redistricting bill in the legislature would disenfranchise upstate. Schneiderman calls that “a complete mischaracterization.” Donovan says staten Island is “certainly more rural” than the other four boroughs in New York.
Question for Donovan about how he defines marriage. Donovan says he would support marriage equality if it was passed in the legislature. Says he supports civil unions. Says marriage is between a man and a woman, because of his background.
They are asked what the biggest thing they want to do in the office. Both say public corruption. Donovan says it’s the thing people in the state have been begging for.
A question about hydrofracking. Donovan says it would create jobs, allow government and citizens to get off foreign oil, says also must protect the environment. Schneiderman says he opposes hydrofracking until environmental department reviews it
Closing statements. Schneiderman says I am running to be the people’s lawyer, talks about getting illegal guns off the street, suing the MTA, taking on drug dealers. I have never accepted the status quo in Albany. “I am running to build on the record of Andrew Cuomo.”
Donovan says there are stark distinctions between the two of us, says Schneiderman voted to weaken drug laws and has relationships with members of the legislature. “Do you want somebody that is an Albany insider?” Or someone who has support of Mayors Bloomberg, Koch and Giuliani.
..And that’s a wrap. We will have post-game in a bit