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De Blasio Again Challenged By Rivals In Final Televised Democratic Mayoral Debate

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Public Advocate Bill de Blasio came under intense fire from his opponents during the final televised debate between the Democratic candidates for mayor Tuesday night. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

There is no doubt that Bill de Blasio is the candidate to beat in the Democratic primary. He leads in the polls, and his rivals are desperate to stop his momentum.

The public advocate came under intense fire during the final Democratic mayoral debate Tuesday night.

"We need a leader. We don't need a cheerleader," said Democratic mayoral candidate William Thompson. "Tell the people the truth about your tax proposal. Tell them about the term limit issue. Tell them about member items. Tell them the truth.

De Blasio has been on the hot seat for days. It got even hotter Tuesday after a new poll showed that 43 percent of likely Democratic voters are backing him.

Thompson is in second place, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is in third. She attacked de Blasio Tuesday for his recent calls to end earmarks, known as member items, in the City Council.

Quinn: If this was such an important issue to the public advocate, why, in all the time he was in the council, did he never propose one bill that would have reformed member items?
de Blasio: Because people didn't go to jail until the last few years.

De Blasio also had to defend the viability of his plan to raise taxes on wealthy New Yorkers to pay for universal pre-kindergarten. The tax hike would require approval from Albany, and insiders have said there is no way Governor Andrew Cuomo would agree to it in an election year.

"Bill, bold proposal isn't about putting something forward that is never going to happen," Thompson said.

"The Daily News, the New York Times, they've all said, based on what they've heard in Albany, that his plan is dead on arrival, going to die on the rocks of Albany," Quinn said.

"The notion that we can't go to Albany and get what we deserve, that we can't convince the legislature that we need the right to tax people who make a half million or more, that's old thinking," de Blasio said. "That's not the thinking that is going to move us forward."

Regardless of whether he can get it done, many Democratic voters seem to like the idea.

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