Len Cutler has been around.
The long-time (and well-loved) Siena College political science professor has worked for the state senate as well as in the office of the Counsel to Governor George Pataki, all while teaching young people about politics and civic life.
He told Capital Tonight that he’s never seen anything like last night’s debate.
"I wouldn’t call it a debate. I would call it a debacle, a disaster, a chaotic event. A spectacle of the worst order," Cutler said. "Simply put, I have never witnessed anything like it going back to the Kennedy-Nixon era."
But what truly pains Cutler is that the message his students will likely take away from the debate is one of partisanship, and that pandering, posturing and even lying, somehow contribute to democratic discourse. It doesn’t, he said.
"As director of the Center for the Study of Government and Politics at Siena College, what we do is, we encourage our students to become civically aware, civically participating," he said. "My students were in fact watching the debate, and it’s the worst kind of message to send to young voters who we are encouraging to go out there to express their position on November 3."
"It just taints the whole environment," Cutler continued.