"I have always believed that everyone has the right to petition to get on the ballot — even folks who use lots of money to buy their way on to the ballot," Stringer said, taking a shot at Spitzer's self-funded petitioning efforts.
On the first day of what has quickly become a high-profile race for the city's important if little understood chief fiscal officer position, Stringer said he was "not afraid of this fight" with the high-profile former governor, adding he wanted to compare his years in state and local government with Spitzer's "failed" governorship.
"Look at that governorship. All that promise all blew up because he couldn't work with people, he didn't understand how to manage people, and now you want to take a failed administration and bring it to the city of New York?" Stringer said.
While Spitzer's track record as governor will certainly be a point of debate over the next two months, the question of what blew up his administration was clearly the prostitution scandal that forced him out of office five years ago. But Stringer says he doesn't want to directly make that a campaign issue.
"I'm not getting into the personal craziness," he said, adding that he had "two kids" and there are "some places [he] can't personally go."
Stringer was willing to go after Spitzer's decision to appear on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno on Friday.
"That's a mistake," he said. "He really should have been with the New York guy Letterman."