The back-and-forth today between Mayor Jerry Sanders and challenger Steve Francis highlights one certainty: They’re both trying to stay above the fray. But they’re both in it.

Francis says he’s not attacking Sanders personally. “I’m just pointing the facts out,” he says. At the same time, he calls the mayor “angry,” says his City Hall public relations team is “ferocious,” and dubs the reelection campaign “desperate.” While suggesting the mayor has “presided over a pay-to-play system at City Hall.”

Sanders says he’s not attacking Francis personally. “We’re not throwing out anything that’s not substantiated,” he says. At the same time, he calls the Republican businessman “a world-class hypocrite,” says Francis is trying to buy the election and dismisses Francis’ politics as being governed by “poll-driven statements from New York and Washington, D.C. polling firms.”

ROB DAVIS

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