At a press conference today, Bill de Blasio was asked by a reporter to “please tell us specifically what your plans are to keep crime down.” Some press reports described de Blasio as “testy” in his response – it didn’t seem that way to me, but you can judge for yourself. Here’s how he responded.
Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio faced off in their first one-on-one debate Tuesday evening. The full debate, hosted by WABC-TV 7, is available here. Following the debate, both candidates spoke with the press, continuing their attacks.
During and after the debate, de Blasio continued working to tie Lhota to the Tea Party and Republican Party dysfunction in Washington. Lhota has fought back, asserting for weeks that he rejects both the Tea Party and the Republican tactics in Washington. In his post-debate remarks, Joe Lhota continued pushing back, arguing that he is independent of those elements of his party. He accused Bill de Blasio of “lying about me” and “continu[ing] to lie about who I am and what I am,” and calling de Blasio a “typical classic political hack.”
A Uniter, Not a Divider:
I asked Lhota whether it’s instructive for voters to consider his service under Rudy Giuliani and de Blasio’s service under David Dinkins. He responded by describing himself as a problem-solving unifier during the Giuliani administration, without reference to Dinkins or de Blasio’s time in the Dinkins administration.
Here is Joe Lhota’s full press Q&A.
Here is a look at the mayoral race, as sent to our subscribers this afternoon. (You can join our subscriber list on the right side of this page.)
Mayoral Race Shapes Up
The race for mayor has shaped up, but it certainly has not heated up. With election day exactly three weeks from today, the race has settled into a lopsided contest with Bill de Blasio leading Joe Lhota by 40 to 50 points in public opinion polls. As de Blasio and Lhota meet tonight in their first televised debate, Lhota desperately needs to shake up the race.
Although the consistently lopsided polls paint the race as finished and predictable, a close watching of what the candidates are saying reveals many unexpected moments. For example – which candidate said this?
Today Bill de Blasio sought to refine his fiscal self-description to “fiscally responsible progressive.” Speaking on Friday to business leaders at an ABNY breakfast, de Blasio described himself as a “fiscal conservative.” That description was a surprise to some, but it goes to de Blasio’s possible electoral vulnerability of being portrayed as a wild-eyed spendthrift. When I asked de Blasio about his “fiscal conservative” self-characterization today, he responded with the refined term and offered a lengthy description of how achieving his goals will require fiscal responsibility, saying that there’s “no contradiction between good fiscal management and an activist government.”
Today Bill de Blasio continued seeking to define Joe Lhota as part and parcel of the radical wing currently dominating the national Republicans, the Tea Party House Republicans. de Blasio has been hitting that theme for a few days, seeking to define Lhota at a moment where Lhota is still fairly unknown and the Tea Party House Republicans, as the deeply unpopular face of the Republican political brand, are in the national spotlight.
Yesterday, Lhota tried to avoid being linked to the House Republicans, condemning them for the federal government shutdown and calling it “outrageous and wrong”. He also described the Tea Party as a “bad force” in the Republican Party.
Today, responding to a question from Politicker’s Ross Barkan, de Blasio continued his effort, describing the current Republican Party as “a very right wing party” and saying of Lhota that “if you’re a member of the Republican Party, you’re buying into the whole idea.” Team de Blasio smells political blood, and appears focused on framing this city race through the lens of Washington shutdown politics.
Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio visited Rockaway yesterday, touring the closed Peninsula Hospital, visiting a family who continues to work on post-Sandy repairs to their home and attending a forum hosted by Faith in New York at St. Mary Star of the Sea in Far Rockaway. Although Rockaway has progressed greatly in recovering from Sandy, much work remains. Many residents and businesses continue repairing their damaged property and reorganizing their lives as the city and federal governments repair infrastructure and contemplate future steps.
Rockaway has long had severe financial and social stresses, with some sections as rough and impoverished as any in the city. Those rougher sections of Rockaway happen to have an ocean beach, but they’re weighed down by the same troubles as neighborhoods in less bucolic locations. Everyone in Rockaway, whatever their economic status, race and ethnicity or political views, was severely affected by Sandy and has faced great challenges in struggling to recover. Unsurprisingly, however, those on the down side of Rockaway’s long standing economic and social fault lines faced Sandy with the least; the least money, the least ability to relocate, the least political influence, the fewest options, and have been the slowest to recover. It was this part of Rockaway that de Blasio visited yesterday.
Press Q & A:
Following the forum, de Blasio spoke with the press.
The second, from Katie Honan of DNAinfo and co-founder of Rockaway Help, addresses the hospital crisis in Rockaway following the closing of Peninsula Hospital and the current stress on Rockaway’s sole remaining hospital, St. John’s Episcopal.
Here is de Blasio’s full Q&A with the press, including his opening statement describing his visit.
Update – Forum on Sandy Recovery:
In his remarks at the forum on Hurricane Sandy recovery, hosted by Faith In New York, de Blasio called for an expansive use of Sandy recovery money. He advocated addressing many of Rockaway’s long standing social and economic issues, calling it “our obligation … to figure out how much good we can do with the resources that we’re receiving, and not just in the narrow sense of helping people immediately in need, but how can we change the structure of things.” Here are selected excerpts from his comments.
The Queens County Democratic Organization endorsed Bill de Blasio for mayor yesterday. de Blasio has been steadily consolidating his former foes and their supporters as he shifts to the general election. The Queens County organization supported Christine Quinn in the primary, having long had a strong relationship with her. They put on a strong, enthusiastic rally for de Blasio, however, with a wide range of Queens Democrats joining Chairman Joe Crowley in front of Borough Hall.
de Blasio Press Q&A:
At a morning press conference focused on condemning Iran, de Blasio had declined to answer any questions from the press, promising to do so at the afternoon Queens rally, all while he led a pack of reporters on a three block walking chase. He fulfilled his morning promise at the Queens rally. Here is Bill de Blasio’s full Q & A with the press.
Update – Crowley/de Blasio Highlights:
Here are highlights from the remarks of Joe Crowley and Bill de Blasio.
Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio support President Obama’s current diplomatic initiative toward Iran. We asked both candidates that question yesterday, and both gave indirect answers that appear to condition support on continued sanctions and other forms of pressure on the Iranian government, but were nonetheless supportive of the initiative. We spoke with Lhota at a press conference condemning the Iranian government, sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council, and with de Blasio at a campaign event in Queens. Here’s what they had to say.
Today the Jewish Community Relations Council hosted a press conference aimed at condemning the government of Iran and calling for continued action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The press conference, held in front of the United Nations, is an annual event timed for the start of the United Nations General Assembly session. Among the many New York elected officials and candidates participating were mayoral candidates Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio.
Lhota Media Availability:
Following his remarks at the press conference, Joe Lhota spoke with the press on the topic of Iran, as well as several other topics. Among the questions he addressed were his view of the recent diplomatic initiative by the United States towards Iran (he seems to be in favor, although it’s “not enough”) and his view of Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy imprisoned by the United States (he seems to be in favor of considering his release). Lhota’s full press availability is here.
de Blasio Slow Speed Press Chase:
Bill de Blasio declined to answer any questions following his remarks at the press conference, leading the press on a several blocks-long, low-intensity, slow speed chase. It was not as dramatic as some of the Anthony Weiner press chase/avoidance episodes (such as this or this), but it was a notable change for de Blasio. It’s important to note that he and his staff said several times during the walk that de Blasio intended to answer questions at a 2:00 p.m. endorsement press conference in Queens, and he did so. Here’s a portion of the chase.
Lhota/deBlasio Remarks at Press Conference:
Here are Lhota’s and de Blasio’s full remarks at the JCRC press conference.
The Bronx Democratic County Committee endorsed Bill de Blasio for mayor this evening. It was unsurprising, but continued a week of positive consolidation as de Blasio garners endorsements from primary rivals and their supporters. The Bronx County organization supported Bill Thompson in the primary, and they had no real option but endorsing de Blasio in the general election. While the County Committee’s electoral influence may be modest, it’s still a plus for de Blasio as his erstwhile rivals continue to fall in behind him, smiling and singing his praises as they present a unified front to the press and the public. In contrast, Joe Lhota has yet to receive an endorsement from either of his two primary rivals. (What Lhota really needs is not just their endorsement, but for John Catsimatidis to fund a material independent expenditure effort, but that’s for a later look.)
Here is the full video of de Blasio’s press conference following his meeting with the Bronx County Committee.
Today Christine Quinn endorsed Bill de Blasio for mayor in the general election. Unsurprising as it may be that the Democratic city council speaker and former mayoral candidate endorsed the expected Democratic nominee, it was nonetheless a powerful scene as Quinn cheerfully pledged her support to her bitter rival.
Here are the speeches of Quinn and de Blasio.
Update – Q & A:
Here is the Q&A following their speeches.
Bill de Blasio campaigned on Manhattan’s Upper West Side Thursday evening, talking with voters and the press outside the 72nd & Broadway Subway station. He had star power with him; actors Steve Buscemi, Kathleen Turner and Peter Jacobson accompanied him. He also had his son, and media campaign star, Dante with him.
Bill de Blasio acknowledges that he’s been living in, yes, a hair shadow.
Star Meet Star:
A Golden Globe winning/Academy Award nominated actor meets a star.