Steven A. Levine
Coordinator for Educational Programs
As we approach tomorrow night's mayoral debate at the CUNY Graduate Center, I thought it was a good time to look at how other candidates prepared for a debate by watching a video of Deputy Mayor Alair Townsend describe her experiences as Mayor Ed Koch's practice debate partner in 1985.
To prepare for his debate against City Council President Carol Bellamy, his Democratic Primary opponent, Ed Koch chose Townsend. Townsend claimed she was chosen because she had glasses and high cheek bones like Bellamy, but it is also clear she was a more than worthy debate opponent. When his campaign adviser David Garth told Koch that Townsend had beat him after the first mock debate, Ed Koch responded by saying, "She had the better [debate] book!" Watch Alair Townsend describe the debate, her preparation and the debate book in this interview with the La Guardia and Wagner Archives' Tara Jean Hickman.