For most of the summer, Mayor Bloomberg has carefully avoided making any waves in the race for mayor, ducking questions about the campaign while letting some of his aides do the dirty work of bashing Bill de Blasio.
That all changed when the mayor sat down with New York Magazine’s Chris Smith and heavily weighed in on the race.
Sounding as if he had a few adult beverages, Bloomberg ripped into de Blasio, initially saying he is engaging in a “racist” campaign for “using his family to gain support.” Pressed on whether he meant to call de Blasio racist, Bloomberg recanted – but the damage has been done.
The mayor’s political team knows that Bloomberg’s endorsement would do more harm than good in a Democratic primary. While Bloomberg clearly favors Christine Quinn in the race – and said some very nice things about her to Chris Smith – he also knows that the City Council speaker is struggling to show her independence and distance from a mayor, who is acting like he’s the last party guest to leave.
The mayor’s bodyslam of de Blasio has given the Democratic front-runner an extra boost of adrenalin in a campaign where he already has the wind at his back. The remarks allow de Blasio and his very telegenic family to express sorrow and outrage, while also creating a massive distraction for the other candidates in the final weekend before Primary Day.
Silence is golden – and Mayor Bloomberg broke the golden rule.
A programming note: Watch a special “ Road to City Hall” at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. for a full wrap up from the campaign trail today and separate appearances by the two Democratic candidates for city comptroller, Eliot Spitzer and Scott Stringer.