Yesterday morning saw the second debate of the Democratic mayoral hopefuls and as it was hoped, this debate featured more zesty repartee. The debate was on a CBS 2 News set, with all the candidates sitting next to each other, which was a more intimate setting and perhaps made some of the candidates feel more comfortable to jostle with each other more. Congressman Anthony "Stickball" Weiner was in pitbull mode, with City Council Speaker Gifford "Don't bring up my kids' schooling even though I bring them to events" Miller a close second. Former Bronx Borough President Fernando "Journeyman" Ferrer tried to take the higher road by just faulting what Bloomberg has done, and C. Virginia "What will my campaign workers do next to screw up" Fields actually patted Weiner's hand while he attacked her. Weiner played on the general feeling that the Democratic party in NYC is faltering by saying:

"One thing I'll say to my Democratic brothers and sisters, the campaign for 2006, 2008 starts today: We have to start articulating what the vision of our party is. It's not just enough to say, 'I'm a Democrat, vote for me,' or 'I'm not Mike Bloomberg' or 'I'm not George Bush.' We have to articulate a view."

And that's why Gothamist would have to give the win to Weiner, because he went out swinging, pressed the other candidates, and made them look slow and way to indentured to the current administration, as odd as that is, even if he misstated an Eliot Spitzer quote that he claimed said a Ferrer tax plan was "crazy" (the quote was apparently from a Post report - heh! - and Spitzer just happens to endorse Ferrer very heartily).

And the Post happens to get its paws on a "Ferrer Research Book" that has 114 pages of dirt on Freddy; the Post says it was probably created by someone associated with Mark Green's 2001 campaign. You gotta wonder if his rivals already have a copy of it.

Watch clips of debate here at CBS 2 and here's a transcript of the debate. And Gothamist on the first debate.

Photograph by James Estrin (pool photo)