Bill de Blasio Ad Claim Upsets Rivals

By Kristen Meriwether
Kristen Meriwether
Kristen Meriwether
Journalist
August 23, 2013 Updated: August 23, 2013

NEW YORK—With just 19 days to go until the primary election, television viewers are being inundated with political advertisements. But a certain Bill de Blasio ad, titled Dignity, continues to draw the irk of his political rivals for NYC mayor.

In the ad, a voice over claims de Blasio is “the only candidate to end a stop and frisk era that targets minorities.”

Fellow candidate Bill Thompson, who has expressed his intention to end racial profiling within the NYPD, has taken exception to de Blasio’s claim. Thompson has repeatedly asked de Blasio to take the ad down, but to no avail.

All week De Blasio has defended the ad, which launched on Monday, saying he is the only candidate who supports two City Council bills, the first aimed at reforming stop and frisk, and the second at the hiring of a new police commissioner.

Candidate Christine Quinn voted for Intro 1079, which creates an Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD, but voted against Intro 1080, which will expand the racial profiling laws to include more people, but allows New Yorkers to sue if they feel they are being profiled. She has also said she would keep Raymond Kelly as police commissioner. Both Intro 1079 and Intro 1080 overcame a mayoral veto Aug. 23 to become laws. 

Bill Thompson did not support either bill, arguing that with his leadership and a new police commissioner, the bills would be unnecessary.

On Friday, Thompson supporter Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) called on de Blasio to take the ad down.

“To keep an ad out there that is untrue, is insulting to me, as an African-American and I think it should be to anyone in the city of New York, because it is simply not true,” Meeks said on a conference call with reporters.

When asked if continuing to draw attention to the ad could play a negative role, Thompson spokesman John Collins refuted the claim. “This is a matter of setting the record straight,” Collins said.

Meeks added that the Thompson campaign did not reach out to him, but rather he called Collins when he saw the ad.

“I think John [Collins] is forced to [address the issue] because those of us who know the truth want the truth out,” Meeks said.

The controversy surrounding the ad has been but a mere blip on the radar in a week filled with damaging misquotes, a fiery mayoral debate, and the historic passage of two bills aimed at reforming stop and frisk. 

But this 30-second spot, and the choice to use the word “only” may have much larger implications. The New York Times is set to give its much coveted endorsement this weekend. The editorial board is rumored to be split in its decision between Quinn and de Blasio, according to a report by POLITICO

An article in the New York Times, which fact-checked the ad, said, “Mr. de Blasio is finding new and creative ways to weave his diverse family into his campaign message, but dropping the misleading word “only” from several of his claims, or using it more carefully, would do wonders for the accuracy and credibility of his commercials.”

When asked if he thought keeping the ad up would have any implications in the New York Times endorsement, a spokesman for the de Blasio campaign said, “no comment.”

The New York Times is set to release their endorsement as early as this weekend, according to the POLITICO report.

Kristen Meriwether
Kristen Meriwether
Journalist