Anna Sale is the host and managing editor of Death, Sex & Money, WNYC’s interview show about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.
Quinn Forcefully Declares Herself the Dem with Results
Monday, June 17, 2013
Council Speaker Christine Quinn started the week with a one-two punch in her campaign for mayor. First, she gave a speech in which she questioned whether her opponents' credentials stacked up to her record. Then, she rolled out an endorsement from the Teamsters.
Quinn's campaign billed her Monday appearance at a Harlem asthma center as a major speech in which she'd take on her opponents with a new level of force. She opened it with a pointed defense of her position in favor of locating a waste transfer center on the Upper East Side — a position that has been criticized by her Democratic opponents Bill Thompson and Anthony Weiner.
Her stand has drawn protests, including boos at the 92nd Street Y, which she acknowledged in the speech. But in the tried-and-true campaign tactic of turning a vulnerability into an asset, she said the position was proof of her leadership.
"I think voters also want to know, do the candidates for mayor have the toughness to stand up for the right choices, even when there are political consequences? And if you're willing to do that in the thick of the election cycle, it's a really good indication that you're going to be willing to do it when you're in office," she said.
While it was billed as a shift in strategy, it wasn't all new. Quinn didn't criticize her opponents by name in the speech, and she repeated lines she's used before that sum up her opponents records' as merely holding press conferences and pointing fingers.
She used even stronger rhetoric when she accepted the endorsement of Teamsters Joint Council 16. "This is about who you are, what you believe in, who you're fighting for, and what you've accomplished for the people you're fighting for," Quinn yelled, as Teamsters members waved campaigned signs behind her. "No one's accomplished more than me for the working men and women of this city."
Quinn's characterizations of her record received strong rebukes from two Democrat running against her. Former Comptroller Bill Thompson's campaign characterized Quinn's record as benefiting "rich Manhattan interests" over working people, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio's campaign pointed out that her accomplishments include a third term for Bloomberg.
"This election is not a contrast in getting things done. It's about who you are fighting for," de Blasio campaign manager Bill Hyers said in a statement.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Bill de Blasio opposes the waste transfer station on the Upper East Side. He supports it. WNYC regrets the error.