Rep. Maloney Agrees to Debate Primary Opponent -- on Radio

By Melissa Russo
|  Thursday, Aug 19, 2010  |  Updated 8:10 PM EDT
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The Race Heats Up In District 14

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Carolyn Maloney

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Maloney Agrees to Debate Saujani -- On Radio

The fight for NY Congressional District 14 is really heating up now. Melissa Russo reports.

The Race Heats Up In District 14

Meet Congresswoman Maloney's political opponent.
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Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney gave in to pressure today and agreed to debate her Democratic primary opponent Reshma Saujani.

The decision comes one day after NBCNewYork aired video of Maloney refusing to commit.

A spokesman for the congresswoman said the radio debate, scheduled to air on WWRL radio on September 7th at 11 a.m., "is a good format."

For the first time in 18 years, Maloney faces a serious challenge in her "Silk Stocking District," which encompasses much of Manhattan's East Side and a chunk of Western Queens.  Saujani, 34, is a hedge fund lawyer who calls Maloney "a mediocre but reliable Democrat."

Saujani has produced attack ads about Maloney's refusal to debate and today accused Maloney of "not telling the truth" in her interview with NBCNewYork when she said the two campaign staffs were in talks about debate plans.

"She said our staffs are talking our staffs have never spoken about this even once," Saujani said today.

But with the debate on radio and not open to TV cameras, voters won't get the full debate experience, which includes body language.

Some may conclude that by refusing to debate on camera, Maloney avoids giving TV air time to her attractive, younger opponent.

Saujani spokesman James Allen said the NBCNewYork story "must have gotten to them." Allen added "It's interesting that they have chosen radio but we're happy that it's happening."

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