Marcia Kramer has been the political maven of WCBS/Channel 2 for more than 20 years. The chief political correspondent has amassed a plethora of honors, including a handful New York Emmy Awards and a couple of Peabody Awards. But there was no award-winning performance by Kramer as moderator of the New York City comptroller debate last week.
The one-hour debate was filled with the typical financial topics for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and former governor Eliot Spitzer.
However, Kramer had something more up her sleeve, and not in a good way. Toward the end of the debate, she elected to have lightning round segments for the candidates. But these questions had nothing whatsoever to do with debating, in fact, most elicited a simple yes or no response.
Kramer: “Did you ever take an accounting course?”
For the record, they both said yes.
Kramer: “Should we eliminate the penny?”
Again, a pair of affirmative answers followed.
At least those extraneous questions had something to do with money, but not this odd choice.
Kramer: “Can you sing me your favorite song, even a few bars?”
With that line, 41 minutes into the proceedings, the debate officially became cringe-worthy. Fortunately, the candidates would have none of that.
Stringer slowly spoke the words of a David Bowie tune, “We can be heroes just for one day.”
Kramer pushed back.
“Can you sing it for me?”
“I just did,” he said, causing laughter from Spitzer.
While the former governor resigned in disgrace, he was clear of any embarrassment Thursday night. Spitzer opted for the high road in replying to the question.
“I am not going to drive your viewers off the TV.”
Without turning the debate in an episode of Glee, Spitzer said his favorite song was Land of Home and Dreams by Bruce Springsteen.
It’s similar to when Jack Nicholson‘s character was questioned as a court martial by Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men. You know the line: “What do you want to discuss now, my favorite color?”
The embarrassment on this night belongs to the accomplished Kramer, who included that whimsical moment in her package for the 11 p.m. newscast.
In a brief exchange with anchor Kristine Johnson, Kramer said, “I think that it was good that you finally saw some personality come out for both of the candidates.”