Liu Ducks Forum, Yassky Cries Foul

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John Liu thinks he's got it nailed.

The Queens councilman, who finished first in last week's Democratic comptroller primary, is ducking a WABC-TV candidates' forum with opponent David Yassky, the Brooklyn city councilman he faces in next week's primary runoff. Yassky, who came in second, has been desperately trying to get his rival to agree to more debates.

The WABC forum was slated to be taped Friday afternoon and run Sunday Morning on "Up Close With Diana Williams.

This is classic frontrunner's strategy: avoid any last-minute blunders by staying out of reach of any wild swings by your opponent. Yassky's campaign tried to flush Liu out with a press release headed, "What is John Liu Trying to Hide?" The release accuses Liu of pulling out of a "debate." A person knowledgeable about the now-scrapped event said that Liu never committed himself to appearing, but did ask if he could appear alone on the show - without Yassky alongside. A Liu spokesperson didn't deny it, adding that Yassky was just trying to get next to the frontrunner. What's next? The Rose Garden? As it is, the two candidates are obligated under Campaign Finance Board rules to face off in Thursday night's debate at NY1.

In other campaign-related events, ex-comptroller candidate and fellow Queens councilman David Weprin declared his support for Liu today, as did the city's Central Labor Council, which also endorsed Bill De Blasio for Public Advocate. The semi-surprise is that the CLC couldn't reach a decision on a mayoral candidate.

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