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Tempers Flare, Candidates Take Aim At Each Other In Final NYC Mayoral Debate Before Election Day

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Tempers flared Wednesday night as mayoral candidates currently behind in the polls took aim at each other.

The eight leading Democratic contenders appeared on the debate stage for the last time before Election Day.

As CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer reports, if you tuned in to the mayoral debate, you heard a lot of the same stump speeches the candidates have been giving for months. Asked for one new idea to solve the homeless problem, most offered some variation of "build affordable and supportive housing," except Andrew Yang.

"When you ask what I'm going to do differently, I'm going to rebuild the stock of psych beds in our city. I will fix this, New York," Yang said.

"You started out this campaign talking about using hotels, now you're into psych beds. How much is this going to cost?" Scott Stringer said.

"We can't afford not to do it," Yang said.

"This is a teaching moment. You can't just walk up and say, 'Psych beds for all.' This is not how the next mayor has to comport themselves," Stringer said.

WEB EXTRA: Primary Elections Guide For Voters In New York And New Jersey

Yang and Stringer started out the mayoral campaign near the top of the pack, but now that the polls have them falling behind Eric Adams and Kathryn Garcia, they tried to make the most of their last debate and score points.

So did others who are currently also rans.

Ray McGuire on the worst idea he's heard from the other wannabes: "Let's be very clear. For Black and brown communities, neither defund the police nor stop-and-frisk nor private security..."

"You don't speak for Black and brown communities. How dare you assume to speak for Black and brown communities. You cannot do that," Dianne Morales said.

"I'm going to do it again. Black and brown communities do not want either defund or stop-and-frisk," McGuire said.

"You are not speaking for all Black and brown communities because I am a member of that community and you certainly are not speaking for me," Morales said.

"I don't think you tuned in tonight to hear us attack each other," Shaun Donovan said.

It was that kind of night.

Yang questioned the ability of former NYPD Captain Eric Adams to fight crime by pointing out that the captains union endorsed him.

"They think I'm a better choice than Eric to keep us and our families safe," Yang said.

"They endorsed my opponent because some of those same captains remember Eric Adams and 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care who fought against abuse of stop-and-frisk, who fought against heavy-handed policing, so of course they knew that Eric is going to be a voice that is not going to allow this to happen," Adams said.

"The worst idea I've ever heard is bringing back stop-and-frisk and the anti-crime unit from Eric Adams, which, one, is racist, two, is unconstitutional," Maya Wiley said.

Garcia once again played up her extensive government experience.

"I am not running to get the title of mayor. I am running to do the job of mayor," she said.

At one point in the debate, the candidates were asked if they would give Bill de Blasio a job in their administration. All said no, including Wiley and Garcia, who held top positions in the de Blasio administration.

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