New Lhota Attack Links De Blasio to Body Bags, Graffiti, Crime of Past

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A new racially-tinged campaign ad from Republican Joe Lhota says Democrat Bill de Blasio is a dangerous threat to the city's low crime rates. Lhota links de Blasio to images of body bags, police tape and flipped cars, and makes explicit a warning the Lhota campaign has only hinted at so far.

"Bill de Blasio's recklessly dangerous agenda on crime will take us back to this," a narrator says over foreboding music. Then, old images flash across the screen: riot police, graffiti, body bags on the sidewalk, and a white woman gripping a subway pole with a black man sitting behind her.  As the ad closes the image of the black man grows larger.

The ad is running on broadcast television, in what the Lhota campaign calls "a significant buy." It criticizes de Blasio's budget votes as a  councilman for reducing the number of police officers, and mocks de Blasio for saying police should go to motorcycle clubs after the recent West Side Highway chase and beating to warn against dangerous riding. De Blasio had urged that officials take  "proactive" approach to dealing with motorcycle gangs, as they have with other gangs.

It's much more pointed and negative than Lhota has gone before. He largely demurred in the first debate when he was asked directly whether de Blasio would make the city less safe. "It might be less safe with him because he's untested," Lhota said at one point.

De Blasio called Lhota's ad divisive and desperate, and likened it to Willie Horton, the now infamous attack ad from 1988 in which Democrat Michael Dukakis was linked to a black prisoner who raped a woman while out on furlough.