Bill de Blasio’s path to Gracie Mansion kicked off in a 5 Borough swing, a sixty miles day long journey reaching out to disenfranchised residents in the outer boroughs.
This 'pavement pounding approach', he told Politicker, will leave voters convinced he is better suited to address the needs of the entire city than his rivals. “If you’re going to change the status quo in this city, it’s going to take a forceful approach,” he told Hunter Walker and Ross Barkan accompanying him on his 1st day of campaigning. “I won’t speak to the details of my opponents, but I think the approach that I take is the one that actually helps to achieve some real change. … Some of my opponents believe in making that change, some don’t. Some are doing something about that, some aren’t. I think that what voters will see in this city that I back up my words with action.”
Mr. de Blasio almost got caught his tongue by a George Soros mention, which wouldn't play well among Orthodox pro-Israel Jews, before rephrasing it's only a book he read written by Soros the father. During a visit at the senior center in the Boro Park Jewish Community Council, Mr. de Blasio sought common ground speaking to a centenarian Holocaust survivor.
“I read a very powerful book by George Soros’s father … the story of how people had to find their way to survive when the Nazis came in,” said Mr. de Blasio. “Very powerful, very powerful.”
“Soros doesn’t like Israel,” one member of the Hungarian contingent interjected. “That I don’t like.”
“Well, no, but I’m talking about the story his father wrote about how they survived the Holocaust,” he responded. “A very powerful story in Budapest 1944 and ’45. That story was extraordinary.”
Speaking with the Politicker reporters, Mr. de Blasio expressed optimism in overcoming the hurdle of bad polling numbers, facing Ms. Quinn and a field of other Democrat hopefuls in the primaries.
“I think, if it’s a question of what people are feeling and do they constitute a majority, there’s no question in my mind that the things I’m talking about are what the majority of Democrats care about,” he explained. “I think that means, in a primary where it’s crucial to turn out your vote, that we’re going to have a lot of folks who connect with my message.”
Mr. de Blasio also dismissed Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson's repeatedly arguments about the grave mistake Democratic candidates are committing in criticising the Mayor, pointing to Mayor Bloomberg's high approval ratings.
“You can talk about all the poll numbers you want, but that doesn’t reflect the reality on the ground. … I think when you talk to active Democrats, there’s no question that they are not satisfied. They don’t think the status quo is sufficient,” said Mr. de Blasio. “So, you know, Howard can keep falling back on poll numbers, but that’s not how elections work. We’re about to have a real debate in this city, something I don’t think we’ve had enough of in the last few years. And I think when that debate ensues, that people are going to embrace the notion of some real changes that help people in middle class neighborhoods, working class neighborhoods, who just aren’t being reached by the current policies.”