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De Blasio Was Mocked as a 'Terrorist' by Clinton Camp Over Endorsement

By Jeff Mays | October 13, 2016 1:26pm
 Mayor Bill de Blasio at the Intrepid May 25.
Mayor Bill de Blasio at the Intrepid May 25.
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DNAinfo/Rosa Goldensohn

NEW YORK CITY — Aides to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called Mayor Bill de Blasio a "terrorist" for withholding his endorsement for her.

De Blasio, who worked as Clinton's campaign manager for her 2000 run for U.S. Senate, withheld his endorsement of Clinton for months saying that he wanted to see a progressive vision from her.

Responding to tweets from a Politico New York reporter in which de Blasio said he wasn't attending a Clinton rally because he was waiting to hear "her larger vision to addressing income inequality" and another where he praised Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook wrote: "Wow. What a terrorist."

Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri replied: "Told you!" in the June 6, 2015 e-mail.

The messages are part of a batch of hacked emails from Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta that were posted on the website WikiLeaks. The U.S. government has accused Russia of hacking the e-mails of high-level members of the Democratic Party.

READ MORE: De Blasio Criticized Clinton's Debate Performance, Hacked Emails Show

READ MORE: De Blasio Kept at Arm's Length by the Clinton Campaign, Emails Show

Podesta told reporters Wednesday he has spoken with the FBI about the hack. He said that Russian intelligence agencies "seem to be doing everything that they can on behalf of our opponent.”

De Blasio withheld his endorsement of Clinton for seven months in 2015 and launched his own group, the Progressive Agenda Committee, to try to bring progressive issues such as income inequality to the forefront of the presidential election.

The group met at Gracie Mansion and planned to hold a presidential forum in Iowa. The forum was a failure and was canceled when no presidential candidates agreed to attend.

De Blasio's non-endorsement put him on the outs with the Clinton campaign. His eventual endorsement in October 2015 was given no special significance and the mayor was relegated to an unglamorous speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention.

But the hacked Podesta emails reveal de Blasio unsuccessfully seeking to get Clinton and Sanders to attend the forum while also trying to have "increased direct access" with Clinton. Aides saw the mayor's desire for a closer relationship as a problem to be managed and kept him at arms length.

When asked about de Blasio's Progressive Agenda Committee, Clinton's team was uninterested.

"Should we care about this?" Podesta asked Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, about the group. Tanden said there was no political pressure to join and that she was "not sweating it."

Other emails show de Blasio offering unsolicited advice on Clinton's debate performance.

"When she makes it about her, she loses the high ground," de Blasio wrote about a Clinton response to a question about mass incarceration after a debate with Sanders.

And the mayor coordinated with the Clinton campaign on how he would praise her and kept them abreast of a meeting with Sanders even though he had yet to endorse her.

The sometimes embarrassing e-mails show de Blasio's "huge miscalculation" of how much national political sway he had, said Christina Greer, a professor of political science at Fordham University.

"He's sworn in in January 2014 and he's trying to be a power broker in January 2015," Greer said.

"More than just New Yorkers knew who he was but there are national profiles and then there are national profiles. He didn't have the national profile to say, 'I'm going to Iowa and have the presidential candidates talk about my ideas.'"