Mayor Rob Ford says he’s been plotting his strategy inside a “war room” ahead of the first mayoral candidate debate at CityNews on Wednesday, and he’s prepared for whatever his political rivals throw his way.

“They can get personal. I’m ready for it, no problem.” Ford said Monday from the CityNews newsroom.

“People are sick and tired of all the personal attacks. They want someone who can watch their money, who has done it for 14 years down here (city hall).”

“We’ve got our war room and I’m ready to go so we’ll see you on Wednesday night…Let’s get it on,” he added with the flair of a prizefighter.

Ford, Olivia Chow, David Soknacki, Karen Stintz and John Tory will all take part in the 5 p.m. debate Wednesday.

All but Soknacki arrived at CityNews headquarters at 33 Dundas St. E. on Monday to draw positions (see below) for the debate. Soknacki sent a representative.

Former TTC chair Stintz said she was excited about the impending clash of political ideas.

“I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “It is the first time that we’ll have an opportunity to talk about our ideas and start offering Torontonians solutions to the challenges they face.”

“After 11 years on council I have good ideas about how we can move our city forward and I want to make sure those come through.”

Chow said moving the people of Toronto, through improved transit, would be one of the cornerstones of her campaign.

She’s been preparing for the debate by riding the TTC, talking to riders and “getting a first-hand feel of traffic gridlock in the city.”

Chow said if she’s elected she would look to reverse Mayor Ford’s Scarborough subway extension and revert to the original LRT plan.

“I have the courage to stand up against Rob Ford’s wrong decision,” she said. She also wants to increase bus service by 10 per cent during rush hour to alleviate crowding.

Tory said he’s been getting ready for Wednesday by staging mock debates with members of his team.

“You have to be prepared for the different postures they are going to take, in terms of your comments on what they have to say, and your response to criticisms they might render of you.”

“The best way to prepare is by simulating what’s going to happen.”

And while Ford wouldn’t divulge what goes on behind the closed doors of his war room, he didn’t appear to be too worried about his opponents.

“They’re pretenders,” he said. “I’m the only real candidate out there that has a proven track record of success.”

Here are the results from the draws Monday:

Podium Positions

  1. Stintz
  2. Tory
  3. Chow
  4. Soknacki
  5. Ford

Transit answer:

  1. Soknacki
  2. Chow
  3. Stintz
  4. Tory
  5. Ford

Finance answer:

  1. Ford
  2. Soknacki
  3. Stintz
  4. Tory
  5. Chow

Leadership answer:

  1. Soknacki
  2. Stintz
  3. Tory
  4. Ford
  5. Chow

Candidate question:

  1. Chow
  2. Soknacki
  3. Tory
  4. Ford
  5. Stintz

Closing statements:

  1. Ford
  2. Chow
  3. Tory
  4. Stintz
  5. Soknacki