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The Rising: Hillary Alumnus, Bloomberg Foil



New York City Councilman Bill de Blasio. Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Nine years ago, Bill de Blasio was managing Hillary Rodham Clinton's first run for elected office. Today he is in prime position to emerge as the leading Democratic foil to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg if, as expected, Hizzoner wins a third term next month.

De Blasio's rapid rise through the shark tank that is New York City politics also marks him as the most successful alumnus of the Hillary Clinton political operation; former campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe lost his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Virginia earlier this year and Adam Parkhomenko, assistant to Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, was defeated in a bid for a seat in the Virginia state legislature this year as well.

In an interview earlier this week as part of the Fix's Rising series, de Blasio credited his successes to lessons learned from his time at Clinton's side.

"Hillary was extraordinary to work with on the level of sheer perseverance," said deBlasio. "There is no one in political life who knows more about putting your head down and charging through barriers" than Clinton.

(De Blasio had been around the block in New York politics before inking the deal with Clinton; he had worked for David Dinkins' 1989 and 1993 campaigns for mayor, managed Rep. Charlie Rangel's 1994 re-election and done a stint under Andrew Cuomo at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.)

The Rising

That tenacity is what informed de Blasio's decision to run for City Council in 2001 and, more importantly, to lead the fight against Bloomberg's effort last year to abolish the two-term limit on the mayor's office.

In the term-limits tussle, the deck was stacked heavily against de Blasio thanks to Bloomberg's personal popularity, his vast personal wealth and the support for the proposal by Christine Quinn, the City Council Speaker.

But, hearkening back to Clinton's ability to "not be thrown by what was going on around her" was "inspirational" to him during the term limits fight, explained de Blasio.

And so, despite the fact that Bloomberg got what he wanted on term limits (or the lack thereof), de Blasio's defeat wound up being a political victory.

Crain's New York Business declared him a "hero" in the after-action report of the term limits fight, writing: "Though on the losing side of the vote, the Brooklyn Democrat soaked up airtime as the face of the opposition and cloaked himself in good-governmentalism while colleagues seethed."

De Blasio parlayed his raised profile city-wide into a run for the open Public Advocate position this year, and looked to be the favorite until Mark Green, the city's first Public Advocate and the man who had nearly kept Bloomberg out of the mayor's office in 2001, reversed course from his 2006 pledge to never run for office again and decided to jump into the race.

Despite Green's significant footprint in New York City Democratic politics, de Blasio insisted he never wavered in his belief that he could win the race -- due in large part to his strong belief in his opponent's deficiencies.

"He was always a poor closer," said de Blasio of Green. "The more he opened his mouth, the more he alienated the voters."

(You have to love politics in the Big Apple. Green attacked de Blasio for an "unethical conflict of interest" in the primary due to a 2006 consulting contract the latter had with a group called the Progressive America Fund.)

Relying heavily on support from organized labor -- and a desultory turnout -- de Blasio narrowly edged Green in the primary and then crushed him 63 percent to 37 percent in the Sept. 29 runoff, all but ensuring that he will be the next Public Advocate because of the state's strong Democratic tendencies.

From that perch, de Blasio will be perfectly positioned to continue to cast himself as the populist, voice-of-the-people alternative to Bloomberg; for his part, de Blasio described his hope to "reinterpret the public advocate role as a natural check and balance" to the mayor.

With Bloomberg almost certain not to seek a fourth term in 2013 watch for de Blasio to get some mentions as a possible mayoral candidate. And, with friends like the Clintons and Cuomo, he's not to be underestimated.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 7, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  The Rising  
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Comments

And as if magic, today's Fix goes directly to the point, in the crucible, California.

No "social conservative" (religious bigot) candidate on the Republican ticket.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 8, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Great post, but I fear you're talking about a time neither of us will live to see, if indeed it ever comes again in this country.

First of all, anyone not absolutely committed to putting Israel's interest far out in front of America's won't get nominated, if he isn't just plain assassinated.

Second, ditto for the NRA. It's physically perilous to go up against the RKBA lobby.

Third, while there are indeed plenty of people who can handle ambiguity and who don't need a policy set all from column A or all from column B, I honestly don't think there are enough to win an election.

I do agree that the GOP won't win again until it does something that *cough* spot of bother with *er ah ahem* "the base." Can't win with 'em, can't win without'em, and the rest of the country doesn't want what they do.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 8, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Earlier,

Republicans, you have a problem.
You can not re-run Bush/McSame.

You have to get someone who is

(1) a bone fide fiscal conservative,
(2) a foreign affairs junkie (no need for grandiose bs, just really smart and into history, adaptive, careful with details),
(3) good at talking to people as if they are smarter than they actually are (inspirational, not a gas can) and
(4) able to say NO and mean it to the radio bigots and their organized lunatics.

Otherwise, you can rant at Obama all day every day and still you will win nothing.

More...

(5) neither liberal, nor conservative on social issues. How about: makes sense?

You can be against the war on drugs, against the NRA, against warrant free search, for very tight borders, strongly anti-crime, for civil rights, both against Israel and against Israel's enemies and for socialized this and for individual responsibility that.

Lets get some self respect, we can think. We can change our minds too. Facts emerge.

Bloomberg is trying the cafeteria plan.
He is looking at reality and figuring out what we ought to do. I don't see him bending reality around his get elected strategy. Not saying I would vote for Bloomberg, I'm saying we need more people in politics who do this.


Posted by: shrink2 | October 7, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see my recommendation to have Bill de Blasio profiled here was followed through on. The Public Advocate has about as much power as a Borough President, that is to say none. He official job is basically to wake up, make sure the mayor is alive, then go back to bed. However he will use the spot to be a major annoyance to Bloomberg unlike our current PA Gotbaum. This will definitely raise his profile for a potential run in 2013 for the Mayoralty.

Posted by: pierredude | October 7, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Bloomberg is just waiting until everyone becomes aware of the fact that Republicans don't need the blessings of right wing factions.

This will not happen until the current Republican Rising! crop goes down. Who wouldn't want to hang out as the Mayor of the greatest city in the world?

Sheesh, now even Gerson says Republicans should stop race baiting.

Obama got a lot of votes from people who hoped he did not care what the corrupt Democratic machine thought. Well, we were wrong. He is an ordinary Democrat, a government issue, a Standard Model.

If either party puts up a candidate who can tell its base to pi*ss off, maybe we stand a chance.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 7, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

FWIW: the last couple threads in "The Rising" series have been Democrats, so that should make drindl and broadwayjoe happy. Our gracious host has yet to profile an actual THIRD PARTY candidate among "The Rising".

Posted by: JakeD | October 7, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of fiction what the hell makes you think an adult like Bloomberg would so much as look in Sa-rah's general direction, much less dignify her idiocy by appearing on a ticket with her? You're SERIOUSLY demented if you think anyone not hate-crazed over Obama takes Palin seriously.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 7, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

shrink2:

If you need me to explain the difference between real politicians and fictional characters, let me know.

Posted by: JakeD | October 7, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

What would you think of a Mickey Mouse / Bullwinkle ticket?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 7, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

(ON TOPIC question re: Bloomberg at least)

shrink2:

What would you think about a Palin-Bloomberg ticket?

Posted by: JakeD | October 7, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Cc

I think you should scold every poster on this thread who posted off topic.

Posted by: snowbama | October 7, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

"Snowbama,

This is a post about a candidate for Public Advocate in NYC. Not sure how Bill Ayers fits in.

Chris

Posted by: Chris_Cillizza"

While you're here, mind if I petition you again to ban JakeD?

Thanks.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 7, 2009 12:58 PM
____________

Psssst. For what it's worth, "snow" doesn't care. Neither does Jake. Just my opinion...

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 7, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Chris, if you care at all about your regular [sane] posters, remove this abusive nut. It's hard to have any kind of rational conversation when you have to put up with this kind of crap ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY...
___________
d, you forgot. This is now "Jake's Place."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 7, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for answering on the prior thread ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 7, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

shrink2:

I apologize for the multiple posts, but I wasn't sure if you would see my 5:57 PM post was directed to you.

Posted by: JakeD | October 7, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

There is no "Letterman issue," this is a story for the checkout counter press, not for the Washington Post.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 7, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

shrink2:

Let me know if you have any opinions (professional or otherwise) on the Letterman issue, thanks.

Posted by: JakeD | October 7, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Letterman was of course talking about Bristol, the of-age abstinence-challenged cow, not about Willow the little girl. He was mistaken about which dotter was at the baseball game.

Leave it to Jake to try to squeeze the maximum blood out of the turnip of one of his many many lies.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 7, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Meghan Stapleton, Palin spokesperson, also noted at the time:

"The Palins have no intention of providing a ratings boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show. Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman."

Dave probably wanted to get Willow into his secret bedroom located above the Ed Sullivan (who would be turning over in his grave) Theatre.

Posted by: JakeD | October 7, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

So this is the National Enquirer blog now?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 7, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Seems like Gov. Palin was onto something when she noted:

"Laughter incited by sexually-perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is not only disgusting, but it reminds us some Hollywood/NY entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands - that acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone's daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others."

What do you think of this, shrink2:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addiction-in-society/200910/so-david-letterman-thinks-sarah-palin-is-white-trash

In other news, N.O.W. came out against David Letterman for the "toxic" work environment and urged CBS "to take action immediately to rectify this situation. With just two women on CBS' board of directors, we're not holding our breath."

http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/TV/10/07/letterman.now/index.html

Posted by: JakeD | October 7, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Snowy copied the post from Dennis Byrne's blog. Count me as another vote for repeated violations of Rule #1.

==

Oh, those rules? They don't count. They're just window dressing.

Plagiarism doesn't count.

Lying doesn't count.

Assassination-wishes don't count.

Death-wishes for other posters don't count.

Flooding the blog with the same six posts all day long doesn't count.

Only "name-calling" counts, unless it's calling another poster a pedophile, then it's OK.

Hope we've cleared that up.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 7, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

While you're here, mind if I petition you again to ban JakeD?

==

If he hasn't banned Jake after all the sick twisted garbage he's posted, he's never going to. Maybe it's the "gracious host" brown-nosing, maybe it's the pure cynicism of hit-counts.

But as long as Jake clogs the blog with the same six posts all day long, and as long as zouk gets to call me a pedophile, I'm not taking any of the scolds seriously.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 7, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

My first thought was that this is inside baseball (oh Lordie, agreeing with snowy), but the payoff punch is what makes this important. Public advocate is best bet to become mayor. So, yeah, thanks for an interesting write-up on someone who could be playing on a much bigger stage soon.

BB

P.S. Snowy copied the post from Dennis Byrne's blog. Count me as another vote for repeated violations of Rule #1.

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 7, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

What is that on his chin?
Looks like my dog after he cleans the grill.

==

beat me to it.

Shave it, guys.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 7, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

you should speak to your doctor about your obssesion with me, snowflake. it might set back your treatment quite a bit.

==

Lifers like zouk get one (1) hour per month with the doctor, and in a hopeless case like zouk that visit is perfunctory, just to check a box, the doctor probably doing crosswords while he pretends to take notes.

As if he's going to write anything down while zouk rants about "Obimbo" and "drivel."

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 7, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I thought "Hizzoner" was Giuliani's nickname, not Bloomberg...?

Posted by: kbinparis | October 7, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

just such an easy target:

big, slow, loud, witless, hypocritical, dogmatic, unreflective, gullible, ugly, nasty and unintelligent.

a perfect archtype for a liberal.

Posted by: snowbama | October 7, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Chris, do you believe that the Hillary vets are making bigger names for themselves at the lower levels of politics than the Obama vets? What about the loyalty of rising stars in the party at higher levels, like maybe, at least locally, Kaine and O'Malley.

Nice that you're getting stalked by a blogger. You now have something in common with Audrina Patridge of the Hills. Is that not a reason to get an interview??:-)

Posted by: Noodles3 | October 7, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse


you should speak to your doctor about your obssesion with me, snowflake. it might set back your treatment quite a bit.

Posted by: drindl | October 7, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't think CC is going to ban one of his last 12 posters.

Hey CC, why is it that drivl gets a pass on every blog regulation. still smarting over her reporting you for the hillary joke to your editor?

I don't think you are going to get a mountain of posts ON TOPIC for an esoteric inside baseball thread like this.

no one even still knows what a community organizer does (besided foment unrest), much less this task.

Obama has coasted along by declaring every fork in the road a false choice and then walking straight into the middle of nowhere. Even when he’s made choices, he’s been sure to keep the path to indecision clear and accessible. He closed Guantanamo Bay without closing it and ended the Iraq war without ending it. He committed himself to Afghanistan without committing himself to Afghanistan. When he scrapped missile-defense assets in Central Europe, he was quick to point out that he was actually, somehow, doing no such thing. He gave Iran a September deadline to show it was serious about discussing nukes, and when the regime in response sent him a few lunatic pages about paradise on Earth, Obama decided to talk after September anyway.

It’s gotten to the point where an Obama policy decision would be less interesting for its contents than for its having been made at all.

Posted by: snowbama | October 7, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Chris, if you care at all about your regular [sane] posters, remove this abusive nut. It's hard to have any kind of rational conversation when you have to put up with this kind of crap ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY...

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>....


Yeah, the surge worked so well in Iraq we're still there!

Yes he is an idiot all right. these parrots' vocabulary is mighty slim. although they can do is squak their buzzwords like 'the surge worked' over and over again, incoherently.

Posted by: drindl

Posted by: snowbama | October 7, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"What does a Public Advocate do?"

Good question. And when you get the answer, you'll be left with the same question.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 7, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Chris, if you care at all about your regular [sane] posters, remove this abusive nut. It's hard to have any kind of rational conversation when you have to put up with this kind of crap ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY...

'Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Muammar Qaddafi and Vladimir Putin have all praised Barack Obama. When enemies of freedom and democracy praise your president, what are you to think? When you add to this Barack Obama's many previous years of associations and alliances with people who hate America-- Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Father Pfleger, etc.-- at what point do you stop denying the obvious and start to connect the dots?

Posted by: snowbama | October 7, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: drindl | October 7, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I've never heard of this office before. What does a Public Advocate do?

Posted by: Blarg | October 7, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"Snowbama,

This is a post about a candidate for Public Advocate in NYC. Not sure how Bill Ayers fits in.

Chris

Posted by: Chris_Cillizza"

While you're here, mind if I petition you again to ban JakeD?

Thanks.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 7, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Snowbama,

This is a post about a candidate for Public Advocate in NYC. Not sure how Bill Ayers fits in.

Chris

Posted by: Chris_Cillizza | October 7, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

"Americans' approval of the job Congress is doing is at 21% this month, down significantly from last month's 31% and from the recent high of 39% in March."

Yawn.

You were citing statistics like this ad nauseam last year, before the party in control of Congress (Democrats) again crushed the party trying to retake control of Congress (Republicans).

In fact, the approval ratings for Congress were even worse last year, Cheney-like you might say. Yet the Repubs still got blasted.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 7, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Americans' approval of the job Congress is doing is at 21% this month, down significantly from last month's 31% and from the recent high of 39% in March.


Let Libs rule. Failure ensues.

Posted by: snowbama | October 7, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

After political crusades for "affordable housing" ended up ruining the housing market and much of the economy with it, many of the same politicians are now carrying on a crusade for "affordable health care." But what you can afford has absolutely nothing to do with the cost of producing anything. Refusing to pay those costs means that you are just not going to continue getting the same quantity and quality-- regardless of what any politician says or how well he says it.

Posted by: snowbama | October 7, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

In a chance meeting with conservative blogger Anne Leary, Bill Ayers makes a stunning claim that he wrote--not just edited--President Barack Obama's autobiography, Dreams from my Father."

Wow. He makes this claim to a stranger who approaches him in Reagan National Airport. Can you believe anything this man says? Or, should I say, either man?

This is no small matter. We have been lead to believe that Obama's eloquence is his strength, his trump card. Is it possible that all of this is a charade? A gigantic lie?

Posted by: snowbama | October 7, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

While it's nice to see a Democrat featured for a change, if you understand the politics of NYC you will understand that mayors here, if they are successful, don't play to the left or right, are not party-oriented. Bloomberg is nominally a Repubican, yet he does not govern like one... his support for banning transfats in restaurants is a good example of that. Because he is seen as putting NY's interests above ideology, he's got support from both sides of the aisle. He has a ton of money and an extremely strong persona, and I just don't see DeBlasio having much chance.

I was working in a Manhattan office recently and there was a de Blasio sign in a window across the street. Nobody in the office -- almost all of whom live in Manhattan -- knew who he was.

Posted by: drindl | October 7, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

What is that on his chin?
Looks like my dog after he cleans the grill.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 7, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

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