Bloomberg: de Blasio's campaign 'racist'
September 7th, 2013
05:10 PM ET
9 years ago

Bloomberg: de Blasio's campaign 'racist'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hizzoner still hasn't made an endorsement in New York City's mayoral race but we know which hopeful he doesn't want to end up in Gracie Mansion.

In an interview for the upcoming issue of New York magazine, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Democratic front-runner Bill de Blasio's campaign "racist."

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Asked by the magazine's Chris Smith about de Blasio's "class-warfare" tactics, Bloomberg, unprompted, volunteered that he thought the current leader in the polls was running a "class-warfare and racist" campaign.

"He's making an appeal using his family to gain support," Bloomberg said. "I think it's pretty obvious to anyone watching what he's been doing."

De Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, is African-American and the couple's 16-year-old son Dante, have been ubiquitous presences on the campaign trail, even appearing in a direct-to-camera television ad in support of his father's campaign.

While Bloomberg insisted he doesn't think de Blasio himself is racist, he said the candidate is using divisive politics to punch his ticket to the city's highest office.

"It's comparable to me pointing out I'm Jewish in attracting the Jewish vote. You tailor messages to your audiences and address issues you think your audience cares about," Bloomberg said.

Black voters are expected to comprise nearly 30% of the primary electorate.

The mayor's interjection came in the context of a larger point about de Blasio's campaign focusing on the economic fissures that divide New York. Despite praising de Blasio as a "very smart guy," the mayor ridiculed the candidate for railing against the wealthy, who help pay for many of the services that benefit the city's poorer residents.

"His whole campaign is that there are two different cities here," Bloomberg said. "And I've never liked that kind of division."

Flanked by his wife and 18-year-old daughter, Chiara, de Blasio responded to Bloomberg's comments at a Saturday afternoon get-out-the-vote rally in Brooklyn, dismissing them as "very unfortunate and inappropriate." De Blasio said he hoped Bloomberg would "reconsider what he said."

His daughter and wife were less reserved in rebuking the mayor's critique.

"Twenty years ago, my dad did not know he was running for mayor and did not seek to marry a black woman to put on display," Chiara told a crowd of reporters.

His wife, pressed by a reporter who asked whether she believed her husband had used their family as "a prop" to win votes, fired back.

"Do I look like an inanimate object? I walk, I talk, I make my own decisions," McCray said.

Though Bloomberg may have stolen the spotlight back from the surging candidate, the polls show de Blasio's strategy appears to be working. He leads all candidates with 43%, including 47% of black voters, according to the latest Quinnipiac survey of likely New York City Democratic primary voters. If the polls prove predictive come election night, de Blasio would have enough support to push him above the 40% cutoff line and avoid a runoff.

Former City Comptroller and 2009 Democratic nominee Bill Thompson heads the rest of the pack, with 20%. Early favorites Christine Quinn and former Rep. Anthony Weiner lag behind at 18%, and 7%, respectively.

soundoff (7 Responses)

    There they go again. Name calling and playing the race card..

    September 7, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  2. Evergreen

    Don't all politicians campaign with their families? I guess I missed the point of Mr. Bloomberg's critisim.

    September 7, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  3. Fredo Santana

    So this is racist and the Stop-and-Frisk program wasn't? Bloomberg doesn't get it.

    September 7, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  4. gotup

    Bloomberg needs to "stopped and frisked".

    September 8, 2013 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  5. Victoria

    Bloomberg is a disgrace. I refused to vote for him when the little emperor ignored the will of the people and steamrollered Christine Quinn and company to get rid of term limits, just for him.

    I would never vote for her either.

    September 8, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. James

    Does Michael Bloomberg really love New York City or does he just love having most of the power in New York City?
    It seems to me that he is trying to take down de Blasio's lead because he wants to hand pick his own successor.

    September 8, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  7. rimmshot

    Without tough policing we are lost.

    September 9, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |