- (Photo: Reuters/Eric Thayer)
Mayor Bloomberg attacked New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio for what he calls a "racist" campaign based on "class warfare." De Blasio, who has showcased his African-American wife and biracial family in his campaign commercials, has both defended himself and been defended by others against the shocking claims by Bloomberg.
Mayor Bloomberg's comments about de Blasio came after the frontrunning candidate said that the wealth disparity in NYC has gotten significantly worse, calling the places of the rich and poor "two cities." The mayor was asked about the assertion in a New York magazine interview.
Bloomberg responded that de Blasio was running "in some ways … a class-warfare campaign- class-warfare and racist." When asked to clarify, he pointed to de Blasio's commercials with his family appealing to minority voters and the poor.
"I mean he's making an appeal using his family to gain support. I think it's pretty obvious to anyone watching what he's been doing," the mayor explained. "I do not think he himself is racist. It's comparable to me pointing out I'm Jewish in attracting the Jewish vote."
The billionaire politician also said that the divisive rhetoric of de Blasio is harmful- by alienating the rich, the poor could suffer because the wealthy pay more in taxes.
"The way to help those who are less fortunate is, number one, to attract more very fortunate people. They are the ones that pay the bills. The people that would get very badly hurt here if you drive out the very wealthy are the people he professes to try to help," Bloomberg said. "He's a very populist, very left-wing guy, but this city is not two groups, and if to some extent it is, it's one group paying for services for the other."
De Blasio responded to Bloomberg's claims at a campaign stop Saturday, calling it "very unfortunate."
"I hope he'll realize that it was inappropriate and I think the people of this city are ready for us to move forward again," de Blasio countered. "We have run a campaign about the ideas, about the issues, about how to move this city forward."
The de Blasio team is capitalizing on their candidate's momentum- he is leading the Democratic field by 10 points- by putting out a radio ad in the last two days before the Democratic primary Tuesday.
"When Bloomberg looks a photograph of de Blasio's family, he thinks racism. Me, I just think New York," Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz says in the ad. "Bloomberg can keep hunting for billionaires. … De Blasio intends to forge a new covenant for our city- one that prizes democracy over privilege, justice over inequality, and makes the problems of immigrant families no less important than the problems of billionaires."
Bloomberg has endorsed Democrat Christine Quinn and Republican Joe Lhota for the mayoral race.