September 7, 2017: RACE FOR CITY HALL

Mayor Bill de Blasio squared off once again against City Hall hopeful Sal Albanese.  Did Albanese manage to land any punches?  And… like him or not…is there really a serious chance that Mayor de Blasio will not win his bid for re-election?  We’ll have analysis from New York Times City Hall reporter J. David Goodman.

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

FOR THE SECOND AND FINAL TIME, THE TWO LEADING DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR NEW YORK CITY MAYOR TOOK CENTER STAGE AHEAD OF NEXT WEEK'S PRIMARIES.

THE MAYOR AND HIS CHALLENGER CLASHED ON A NUMBER OF ISSUES DURING WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S DEBATE HERE IN MANHATTAN, INCLUDING HOMELESSNESS AND CRIME.

THE CONVERSATION GOT PARTICULARLY HEATED WHEN THE TWO CANDIDATES, THE ONLY DEMOCRATS IN THE CROWDED FIELD TO QUALIFY FOR THE DEBATE, TURNED TO PRESIDENT TRUMP.

TAKE A LISTEN.

I FIND DONALD TRUMP'S POLICIES ABHORRENT.

I WILL STAND UP TO HIM AS AGGRESSIVELY AS YOU WILL.

BUT I ALSO REALIZE THAT I'VE GOT TO DEAL WITH HUD, I'VE GOT TO DEAL WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION.

I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO A PERSONAL GRUDGE MATCH WITH HIM, PROTESTING IN FRONT OF HIS BUILDING.

FOR CLARIFICATION, YOU ARE SAYING THE MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY STANDING UP AND PROTESTING IS A BAD IDEA?

YOU ARE NOT A CHEERLEADER.

YOU ARE THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK.

FOR REACTION AND WHAT THE DEBATE COULD MEAN FOR THE PRIMARY, WE'RE JOINED BY 'NEW YORK TIMES' CITY HALL REPORTER JAY DAVID GOODMAN.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

THAT WAS A HEATED EXCHANGE.

TELL US, WHAT DO YOU THINK WERE THE MAIN HEADLINES?

WHAT WERE YOUR TAKEAWAYS?

THAT WAS ONE OF THE MORE INTERESTING MOMENTS OF THE DEBATE THAT KIND OF SAILED ALONG FOR THE MAYOR.

IT DIDN'T -- THERE WAS SOME DINGS THAT SAL GOT ON HIM IN TERMS OF SOME CULTURAL STUFF WITH THE RED SOX, WITH THE COLUMBUS STATUE.

IN GENERAL, THE MAYOR IS IN A VERY STRONG POSITION HEADING INTO THE PRIMARY.

SAL, EVEN IF HE MIGHT HAVE WON SOME PEOPLE OVER LAST NIGHT, A LITTLE MORE POLISHED THAN THE FIRST DEBATE, I DON'T THINK HE DID ENOUGH TO OVERCOME TREMENDOUS HURDLES HE HAS.

WE WILL TALK ABOUT IT.

TALK ABOUT THE DINGS.

THEY CAME FROM THE REPORTERS, FROM THE PANELISTS RATHER THAN FROM SAL.

FIRST WAS THE ISSUE OF PAY TO PLAY.

THEY STUCK ON THAT.

EVEN THOUGH HE WASN'T INDICTED FOR PAY TO PLAY, THAT THE PROSECUTOR SAID THAT HE AND HIS PEOPLE VIOLATED THE INTENT OF THE LAW, SPIRIT OF THE LAW.

ALSO, ON THE COLUMBUS STATUE, WHERE HE REFUSED TO SAY WHERE HE STOOD ON IT.

IT HAD THE FEEL OF A NEWS CONFERENCE.

FOR PEOPLE THAT HAVE COVERED THE MAYOR, IT WAS FAMILIAR.

I THINK FOR A LOT OF VOTERS, THE WHOLE PAY TO PLAY AND WHETHER THE MAYOR HAS DONE FAVORS IS BAKED INTO THE EQUATION.

I DON'T THINK HE SUFFERED EVEN THOUGH HE WAS A LITTLE BACK ON HIS FEET.

SAL HAD A GOOD LINE ABOUT I THINK NOT BEING INDICTED IS A LOW BAR FOR BECOMING MAYOR.

THAT'S A GOOD POINT.

AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE MAYOR'S PEOPLE WEREN'T INDICTED.

NOTHING HAS HAPPENED.

THEY HAVE MOVED ALONG.

I THINK VOTERS HAVE BAKED THAT INTO THEIR FEELINGS.

YOU DON'T THINK THIS WILL MOVE THE NEEDLE?

IT MIGHT.

WHEN I WAS OUT WITH SAL FOR A PROFILE FOR THIS RACE A COUPLE WEEKS AGO, THE COLUMBUS STATUE THING DID COME UP.

NOT BROUGHT UP BY SAL.

PEOPLE ON THE STREET.

THAT ISSUE HAD A LITTLE RESONANCE.

I THINK WHEN THE MAYOR VACILLATED OR DIDN'T WANT TO SAY WHAT HIS PERSONAL OPINION WAS ON THAT, I THINK THAT MIGHT HAVE MADE SOME PEOPLE FEEL LIKE HE IS A POLISHED POLITICIAN, HE'S NOT AS AUTHENTIC AS SAL.

WE'RE COMING INTO THE HOME STRETCH, THE LAST PUBLIC POLL WAS IN JULY.

THE MAYOR WAS 50% IF I REMEMBER RIGHT.

SAL WAS 4%. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A PRETTY WIDE MARGIN.

WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF SAL?

I COVERED HIS FIRST MAYORAL CAMPAIGN.

DOES HE THINK HE CAN WIN?

I THINK HE THOUGHT -- A LOT OF PEOPLE THOUGHT WHEN THE MAYOR WAS UNDER INVESTIGATION THAT HE WAS QUITE VULNERABLE.

FOR A CITY WHERE CRIME IS NEAR OR AT RECORD LOWS AND JOBS ARE AT RECORD HIGHS, THE CITY -- THE MAYOR IS NOT AS POPULAR AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT.

SAL WANTED TO JUMP -- IF NO ONE ELSE WAS GOING TO JUMP IN, HE WOULD DO IT.

HE WAS IN A CROWDED FIELD LAST TIME.

HE CAME IN EIGHTH OF NINE.

HE IS ALONE THIS TIME.

HE HAS HIS SHOT TO GO AFTER A MAYOR HE HASN'T LIKED.

HE ATTACKED HIM BEFORE HE WAS RUNNING THIS TIME AROUND.

SAL WAS ATTACKING WHAT THE MAYOR WAS DOING.

AS WE LOOK FORWARD TO NOVEMBER, ASSUMING -- IF THE MAYOR WINS THE PRIMARY IN SEPTEMBER NEXT WEEK, DOES NICOLE, THE LIKELY REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE, DOES SHE HAVE A CHANCE?

I THINK THE BAR MIGHT BE HIGHER FOR HER THAN EVEN FOR SAL, BECAUSE THE REGISTRATION ADVANTAGE IS SO STARK.

WE'RE IN AN ERA WHERE DEMOCRATS ARE NOT LIKELY TO CROSS OVER TO VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN BECAUSE YOU HAVE DONALD TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

THE BRAND OF THE REPUBLICANS -- YOU SAW IT IN A DEBATE FOR CITY COUNSEL.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TRUMP REPUBLICANS.

DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO PAINT THAT PARTY WITH THAT LABEL.

SHE HAS TO SADDLE WITH THAT.

IT'S HARD TO OVERCOME.

WE HAVE 45 SECONDS.

SPEAKING OF TRUMP, A LOT WAS MADE IN THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS ABOUT THE FACT TRUMP CUT A DEAL WITH SCHUMER TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING FOR THREE MONTHS.

WAS THAT JUST ANOTHER THING THAT TRUMP DID TO GET COVERAGE THAT WILL BE FORGOTTEN HE DOES ANOTHER THING?

WAS IT SIGNIFICANT?

I THINK IT WAS AN OPENING.

DEMOCRATS WANTED TO SEE THIS AS SOME KIND OF CHANGE.

AT THE END OF THE DAY, HE DISAPPOINTED EVERYBODY.

PEOPLE ON THE FAR RIGHT, CENTER RIGHT, NOW DEMOCRATS WHO PUT LONG-TERM HOPE ON THIS ARE GOING TO BE DISAPPOINTED.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

> FOR THOSE OF YOU WATCHING AT HOME, FULL COVERAGE OF NEXT WEEK'S PRIMARY.

CHECK BACK ON DECISION 2017.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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