As Bill de Blasio's rivals in the mayor's race argue that the Democratic candidate needs to explain his past work as an activist and trips he took to Cuba and Nicaragua, de Blasio says the attacks are purely political. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Bill de Blasio's past is looming over the race for City Hall.
His rivals says his support as a young activist for the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and his honeymoon trip to Cuba are raising questions about de Blasio's world view as he makes a bid for City Hall.
"I believe actions taken like the Sandinistas, who were fighting Americans as well as Capitalism was absolutely not the right thing to do during the Cold War. Going to Cuba illegally is never a good thing in this country," said Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota.
"He went to Canada and then to Cuba. What was he there for? It's a question New Yorkers should be interested in," said Independence Party mayoral candidate Adolfo Carrion.
De Blasio's international activities took center stage Monday, after The New York Times reported about his past.
Later in the day, in Kew Gardens, de Blasio dismissed the attacks as political mudslinging, and he tried to clarify his own political philosophy, after it was reported that years ago he considered himself an advocate for Democratic socialism.
"I think the reporter asked me if I remember that, and I said, 'I don't remember that.' But it doesn't matter. The bottom line is the values that I have put forward I think have been consistent over the last quarter century or more. I believe in a more just society. I believe government has to be a tool for a more just society," de Blasio said.
De Blasio picked up an endorsement from the Queens Democratic Party, which backed Christine Quinn during the primary.
President Obama announced he is endorsing de Blasio as well.
Carrion, who is running on the Independence Party line, worked for President Obama.
He said he is not surprised the president is supporting a Democrat.
Carrion took a dig at de Blasio over his statement about Democratic unity.
"There is nothing more beautiful than Democratic unity," de Blasio said on September 16.
"I can think of a lot more beautiful things in the world, like somebody getting a job and getting an education and climbing out of poverty and opening up a business," Carrion said.
As for de Blasio, he seems to be soaking up as much Democratic support as he can.