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Lhota Meets With Sharpton As Part Of Effort To Appeal To Crossover Voters

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Trailing badly in the polls, Joseph Lhota is attempting to appeal to crossover voters, and as part of that effort, he met with the Rev. Al Sharpton Tuesday night. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

In a stark contrast with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Republican mayoral nominee Joseph Lhota sat down with the Rev. Al Sharpton Tuesday night for a closed-door meeting.

The meeting lasted about 25 minutes.

"I want to be the mayor of all New Yorkers," Lhota said. "In the process of doing that, I need to talk to all New Yorkers. I need to listen to them. I need to go to all communities."

"I have always believed that you can disagree without being disagreeable," Sharpton said.

That's more than what you could say of Lhota's former boss.

"You make judgments about the people you think you should respond to and the people you think you shouldn't respond to," Giuliani said in 1996.

"I think it shows the incapacity of the mayor to deal with anyone critical of him," Sharpton said in 1996.

Tuesday's meeting between Lhota and Sharpton covered education, housing and, of course, stop-and-frisk.

"I understand he's willing to defend and say what he believes in front of any audience in the city, even though he knows it may be an audience doesn't agree with him," Sharpton said. "I think that's a good order."

It wasn't Lhota's only meeting on Tuesday. Earlier, he met with the city's largest municipal employees union, District Council 37.

"I promised DC37 that our conversations were private, and I want to respect the union's point of view on this," Lhota said.

Just hours after Lhota sat down with DC37, however, the union announced it was endorsing Democrat Bill de Blasio.

A poll Tuesday night showed that Lhota trailed de Blasio by 43 points.

After his meeting with Sharpton, Lhota would not take questions about the poll numbers.

"She has a statement," Lhota said, referring to his spokeswoman, Jessica Proud. "The statement, that's all we're going to say."

"Once they learn about Bill de Blasio's radical positions, they're going to be looking for practical alternatives, someone like Joe, who offers experienced leadership, practical solutions and how he is going to expand the middle class," Proud said.

It's unclear whether Sharpton will be making an endorsement at all in the mayor's race. When asked, he said he certainly wouldn't be making one Tuesday night.

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