PHL-15: NBC10/Telemundo Debate Observations

Philly-City-Hall1Tonight’s debate will cause plenty of discussion, but one thing everyone will agree on is that it was not your typical political affair.

The following are observations on the performance of each Mayoral candidate.

Lynne Abraham

It’s hard to imagine a bigger nightmare for Abraham and her campaign.

The debate started well enough, as the former DA received the first question about Mayor Nutter’s proposal to raise the property tax by 9.3%. She came out against it, calling the tax “regressive” and advocating for $20 million in early education.

The question then went down the line of candidates. State Sen. Anthony Williams was finishing when there was an audible thump, and Williams sprinted from his podium. The camera pulled back to show Abraham lying on the floor. For a long second or two, she was scarily motionless before regaining consciousness and being helped back up. NBC10 soon went to commercial.

When they came back, moderator Jim Rosenfield told the audience that Abraham was ill but alright but would be sitting out the rest of the event backstage.

She would later take questions from the press after the debate ended.

This issue sadly extend beyond Abraham’s health or the missed TV opportunity. For the 74-year old, age has been a major issue throughout the campaign. Additionally, with Williams and Kenney pulling away she needed perhaps more than anyone to steal the show.

She ultimately did, just not the way she wanted.

Nelson Diaz

The Judge had trouble distinguishing himself on stage given the more colorful personalities that were present. He made no mistakes but he didn’t jump out at any point either.

Diaz did get to talk about his opposition to wage taxes and his desire to “terminate” the School Reform Commission.

In the Yes or No portion of the event, he declared support for Police Commissioner Ramsey so long as he embraced community policing. Additionally, he opposed any new charter schools.

When asked to grade Mayor Nutter’s tenure he gave him a B (though others heard him say D).

Jim Kenney

Kenney did exactly wanted he needed to do tonight. Namely, not make any mistakes.

The ex-City Councilman mentioned some of his pet issues like universal pre-K, his experience and opposition to charter schools.

Rosenfield mentioned his Twitter account and asked whether Kenney had the temperament to be Mayor. The candidate seemed unimpressed with the question.

“Twitter is twitter, it’s not the State of the Union Address. It’s 140 characters of nonsense,” he responded before defending his criticism of Gov. Chris Christie and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Kenney gave Mayor Nutter a B+ grade.

There was one tense moment between Kenney and Williams, though, when the latter hit the former for making “dark money” an issue when the former Councilman is also benefitting from SuperPAC ads.

While denying any knowledge or involvement with the group behind his TV spot, Kenney did counter that his SuperPAC was funded by “working people” while Williams’ SuperPAC was funded by “billionaires.”

Doug Oliver

Not much has been expected from the political novice in this race but he’s did a fine job nonetheless. One can’t shake the feeling, though, that this run is more about getting his name ID up for some future campaign.

If that’s the case, Oliver is doing quite well as he was a good fit for the stage.

With long answers, he made the most of his time, even to the point of annoying Milton Street (more on him soon).

His direct question from Rosenfield concerned a forum in which he stated that he understood why some would be fearful of black men. Oliver called his comment inartful, saying he was trying to bridge the divide present between the police and the community.

“Blame it on the head, not the heart,” he asked.

Finally, he called retaining Commissioner Ramsey “inappropriate” and was the only candidate besides Williams to be open to charter schools.

Milton Street

Milton Street was…well Milton Street.

The one silver lining for Lynne Abraham is that even though she fainted about five minutes into the debate, Milton Street somehow found a way to have a worse performance.

In fact, it was so unique that it got him trending nationwide on Twitter for a short time.

Visibly emotional throughout the proceedings, Street was constantly upset about being cut off for time and repeatedly went back to his pet issue of violence in the city.

It started when the former State Senator (and ex-prisoner) misquoted the Bible on the opening question about Mayor Nutter’s property tax proposal, “Many shall perish from lack of knowledge.”

Street got under Anthony Williams skin at one point by accusing him of dodging a yes or no question.

The highlight, or lowlight, came when he dismissed a question on renewable energy as unimportant. He sarcastically called for “solar-powered bike paths” and mocked windmills.

Mayor Nutter earned a “triple F” grade from the man who ran against him four years ago.

“If I sound angry, it’s because I am. I wasn’t finished,” Street concluded his final answer.

Anthony Williams

Much like Kenney, Williams didn’t do anything to hurt himself, all while taking a few more chances.

Williams came prepared when Rosenfield asked him about the charges that he is using “dark money” to support his campaign.

“My money is not dark, it’s pretty transparent because they write about it every day,” he joked.

He went on to point that he is the only candidate on the air with his own TV ad and delivered that aforementioned jab at Kenney.

At another point, after Street was asked about his time in jail, Williams stood up for him and praised his rehabilitation.

“Don’t vote for him, vote for me though,” Williams quipped.

The State Senator gave Mayor Nutter an A for ethics and an A for stability.

Final Thoughts

It’s impossible to say there was a winner in this debate but since Kenney and Williams did no harm you could claim they prevailed. Lynne Abraham obviously took the biggest hit. Her incident gave the whole event a bizarre feel and will likely overshadow everything that happened afterward.

April 7th, 2015 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Local races, Top Stories | No Comments