Thursday, April 17, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: De Blasio Speaks Up On A Chilly Day

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Almost three weeks after being elected mayor, his interimness, Bill de Blasio, is giving his first major speech at Columbia University today, addressing a summit on the future of New York City's children.

It may not be a glitzy topic – but it's what helped win him City Hall. De Blasio's policy mantra on the campaign trail was a plan to fund universal pre-K through increasing the income tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers. Without ever mentioning Mayor Bloomberg, it was a political one-two punch against the mayor: exhibiting compassion to voters who felt that Bloomberg was short on hugs while also saying that he would do something to address the income gap – something the billionaire incumbent can never really talk about since he's one of the city's wealthiest residents.

As aggressive and omnipresent as he was heading into the September primary, de Blasio has been extremely cautious over the last eleven weeks, running a safe campaign in the general election and not having public events in the city for days at a time since the election. But in this brave new media world where politicians are sometimes punished for being too off-the-cuff, perhaps this is a smart thing. The rollout of the still-invisible de Blasio administration has been slow – but maybe slow and steady will work when it comes to naming a First Deputy Mayor and a Police Commissioner.

After all, if these appointments are successes no one will remember if they were made in November or December – but failures will be talked about for years no matter when their selection is unveiled. It should be interesting to hear de Blasio give his first real speech since election night – but don't expect any Thanksgiving surprises on a wintry afternoon.

Bob Hardt

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