While former governor Eliot Spitzer took aim at his Democratic rival opponent over public housing in the race for City Comptroller on Wednesday, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer responded by calling out Spitzer for appearing next to activists notorious for inflammatory remarks. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
After a tour of the Frederick Douglass Houses on Manhattan's West Side on Wednesday, City Comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer addressed the media in the nearby playground, where he was flanked by one-time City Council candidate Thomas Lopez-Pierre, who is now running for district leader.
Lopez-Pierre has a history of crude and incendiary remarks about Jews and others, and while he did not speak at the press conference, Lopez's Democratic ally, Carmen Quinones, did.
"I have the utmost respect for Eliot," Quinones said. "He was a great governor. People need to look past whatever they're saying, because I'm quite sure they've all done it. They just haven't gotten caught."
In a statement, elected officials said, "We are horrified that a former governor of this state would stand with two individuals who have engaged in inflammatory rhetoric that is anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic and anti-woman."
Spitzer's campaign quickly responded that they did not invite Lopez-Pierre, and that they disagree with his previous remarks.
Spitzer went on to say that Stringer, by playing along and allowing a third term for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, allowed public housing fell into disarray.
"This is a consequence of a third term that would not have happened if my opponent had not been part of a political establishment that took the easy path, a political establishment that was happy with the status quo," Spitzer said.
"It's really incredible that my opponent, who never walked the streets with Bill Thompson, didn't engage in the campaign," said Stringer. "If he was so concerned about denying Bloomberg a third term, where was he? Where was he on the streets? I'll tell you where I was. I was walking with Bill Thompson."
Stringer, who did not endorse Thompson until three weeks before the election in 2009, has made helping public housing residents a top priority.
Stringer announced that he would create a program to reduce the costs of lawsuits.
Stringer said the city already pays out about $740 million a year in claims, a number that is expected to balloon to $850 million by fiscal year 2017.
He said the "Claimstat" program he would implement could be paid for entirely out of the comptroller's budget.