NEW YORK CITY — In an extensive interview published Saturday on New York's website, Mayor Michael Bloomberg accuses mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio of running a campaign that's "class-warfare and racist," he said.
The characterization of the public advocate's campaign came after interviewer Chris Smith suggested the Democratic front-runner had been "in some ways running a class warfare campaign" at which point Bloomberg interjected, adding in "racist" as another way of describing it, though he qualified his comment as not meaning that de Blasio is a racist.
"I mean he’s making an appeal using his family to gain support," said Bloomberg, referring to the many public appearances de Blasio has made with his biracial family.
"I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing. I do not think he himself is racist."
In an afternoon press conference at a Brooklyn campaign stop, Bill de Blasio said he found Bloomberg's comments "very very unfortunate and inappropriate."
"I think we have run a campaign about ideas, about the issues, about how to move this city forward. I'm very proud of that. I'm exceedingly proud of my family," he says in a video posted by the NY Daily News, adding that "each and every one is strong and independent and make their own decisions."
He called the mayoral campaign an "extraordinarily positive" experience for his family, as his wife Chirlane and daughter Chiara stood by his side at a Bed-Stuy stop on Saturday.
"I hope the mayor will reconsider what he’s said. I hope he’ll realize that it was inappropriate. And I think the people of this city are ready for us to move forward together," he finished.
Bloomberg's barbs, which came from an August 6 interview, were published four days after a Quinnipiac poll showed a surge in de Blasio's popularity among voters, with 43 percent of those polled favoring the public advocate over the other Democratic candidates, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who captured only 18 percent of the votes.