Bloomberg Remarks Overshadow Democrats' Final Sprint

Sunday, September 08, 2013


In the final days before the primary election it wasn't Bill de Blasio's rapid rise, or Christine Quinn's potential for a historic role as the city's first woman mayor, or even Al D'Amato's last-minute exhortation on behalf of Bill Thompson, that grabbed voters' attention.  It was a published interview Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave to New York Magazine, in which he called de Blasio's campaign "class-warfare" and "racist," praised Quinn for "seven and a half years of keeping legislation that never should have made it to the floor," and called on more Russian billionaires to move to the city.

The candidates used the last Sunday before the primary, when it's hard to add anything new to an already crowded narrative, to whip up voters.  At a rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall de Blasio supporters, including union activists, Cynthia Nixon, Marisa Tomei, and New York Communities for Change (formerly ACORN), proudly declared "we are not the one percent!" The hundreds of supporters who packed the plaza seemed almost more riled up than the candidate, who spent half his talk thanking supporters before launching into a tirade against inequalities.

"This city needs to change!" de Blasio said, before exhorting supporters to drink coffee and Red Bull so they could work all of the next 48 hours. "This city needs to change. We have to express our urgency to others. This is not an optional situation.  The kind of inqualities we're facing in New York today can't continue."

Meanwhile, Christine Quinn vowed to continue the campaign into a runoff.  "And girls will know the sky is the limit for them!" Quinn shouted, invoking the suffragist movement.  "We might have thought this campaign is hard.  But think about the women who won us our right to vote.  Nothing compares to what they went through."

Stumping for Quinn, former mayoral candidate Ruth Messinger was more direct.  "There's no other candidate in this race whose temperament gets questioned every day!" Messinger said.

For his part, at a get out the vote rally in Crown Heights, Bill Thompson and his backers made a direct appeal for Jewish voters in the neighborhood, which is home to the Lubavitch sect of the Hasidic community. He was joined by a handful of locals, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, and former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, a Republican who has been an early and vocal supporter of the candidate.

D’Amato said Thompson was the only “grown-up” among the Democratic primary candidates. He also made a pointed appeal to the voters of the Jewish community. "This is our opportunity to protect our own interests and make him the next mayor of New York."

Thompson spent the morning at black churches, even though a poll released Sunday showed him trailing to de Blasio among black voters.

“Are we going to have a future of empty promises? Because that’s what we’re seeing right now,” said Thompson, taking a shot at de Blasio’s tax plan which requires approval from state lawmakers. “Empty promises. People who will say anything. They will forget what they’ve done in the past. They’ll make any promise to get help, to get people’s votes.”

“That’s not what I’m going to do. I’m talking about hard work, not easy words,” said Thompson, urging the crowd to turnout for him on Tuesday.

But at the end of the day, Bloomberg's remarks dogged candidates at every stop.  Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo jumped into the fray, issuing a rare swipe at Mayor Bloomberg, whose comments he called "unnecessary" and "inflammatory."  Speaking to reporters in Buffalo, Cuomo, who was de Blasio's boss at the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the mayor's comments "have no place in our political discourse."

De Blasio thanked Cuomo for his defense. When asked if his campaign had been called racist, he answered, "I have to say I think that's a first for me.  Definitely surprised me, and I think it's inappropriate, as I've said. But I think people all over the city are obviously drawing their own conclusions and I'm particularly appreciative that the governor stood up for me in such a powerful way."


Richard Yeh


More in:

Comments [9]

Candy from nyc

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what they say - Albany rules this city's tax situation and for de Blazio to say he'll fix 'everything' by going after the 'rich' is nothing short of electioneering.
The other candidates are more cautious to promise.

Sep. 09 2013 04:15 PM
Bill from Brooklyn

Over his eight years in the City Council, de Blasio was a pro-development lackey of Michael Bloomberg, voting for every one of the mayor's rezonings and redevelopments that truly created a more divided city. Being pro-development wouldn't be so bad if it didn't mean handing out such huge taxpayer subsidies to the wealthy. De Blasio now wants us to believe he's a true progressive. I'm sorry, but I watched this guy in action and I'm not buying it. He's going to show his true colors after the election, moving more to the milquetoast middle in order to beat the Republican. He must think we're suckers.

Sep. 09 2013 02:39 PM
Leo from Queens

Quinn spent 7 years castrating an already weak City Council so she could kiss up to Bloomberg to get his support and this is what she gets.

Interesting that Bloomberg insists that NYC should be the playground and domain where all the billionaires who have been stealing money across the World and need to play and launder their winfalls should come.

It became evident during the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that Bloomberg sees real estate and Wall Street speculation and money laundering as THE INDUSTRIES in which NYC should solely rely on at the cost of everything else.

And don't get me started on the class warfare and the fact that De Blasio is running a 'racist' campaign. I guess it now comes out that the folks of color should not be seen or heard from. They should come through the back door and stay in the kitchen and the sweat shops. that ideology sounds familiar. where have I heard that before?.....

Sep. 09 2013 02:16 PM
Jim from South Bronx NYC

Poor Speaker Quinn! With friends like Bloomberg, who needs enemies?

Sep. 09 2013 11:59 AM
Ron from Manhattan

Really? More Billionaires in the City? Great, so now I could walk by more empty apartments that serve as Summer Homes to the rich, when actual residents struggle to find housing, and often pay inflated rents, while earning deflated salaries. Thanks Mayor. I think you need to re-think and tweak your trickle down theory.

Sep. 09 2013 11:44 AM
Katherine Boyd from Brooklyn, NY

I think Bloomberg has unintentionally given a big boost to Bill de Blasio's campaign with his charge against De Blasio of running a "racist" campaign by featuring his family in ads. What is De Blasio supposed to do, keep them out of the picture, order them to stay at home and out of sight? This isn't exploitation. Both Dante and Chiara are old enough to decide for themselves whether they want to participate, and Chirlayne is certainly her own woman.

Bloomberg also attacked De Blasio's message of "a tale of two cities," saying that the middle class is actually doing well and the poor aren't really as poor as everyone claims. Well, this just demonstrates how tone-deaf to the concerns and needs of people who aren't in the top 1% the mayor is.

Bloomberg's comments in the same interview praising Christine Quinn to the skies may have actually hurt her. Interesting that he's never actually endorsed her, though.

Sep. 09 2013 11:22 AM

Sounds like it's time for an evaluation for early onsite Alzheimer's...Bloomberg is adamant that a practice that violates our Fourth Amendment guarantee against illegal search and seizure DOES NOT violate the Constitution. (Luckily for New York a federal judge disagrees.) And now a politician using has family in his campaign advertising can be construed as racist? By what stretch of illogic can that possibly be true? Mayor B's presumption MUST BE that the citizens of NY are racist. Otherwise, how can he imagine such an appeal to be effective.

Sep. 09 2013 10:13 AM

If DeBlasio had kept his family at home we'd be hearing that he was trying to hide them. As for Bloomberg not appealing to the Jewish vote, is he kidding? His name is Bloomberg. And, no, I'm not voting for DeBlasio. Just sick and tired of Bloomberg the CEO who has everything and is controlling, mean spirited and dismissive of mere mortals. As an aside, love one of his more recently reported bon mots - never spend more than $300 for a bottle of wine. Words to live by indeed.

Sep. 09 2013 10:05 AM

"Overshadow?" To who?

Sep. 09 2013 09:43 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by