City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s demand that Time Warner not run an independent ad hitting her as a flip-flopper earned her taunts and criticism from her mayoral primary opponents at a forum Tuesday.
“I think it’s an attempt to intimidate the press, an attempt to intimidate the stations. It’s wrong,” Bill Thompson, a former city comptroller, said.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said that “in the end this group expressed their views and it’s based on some very, very serious issues.”
The commercial, paid for by an anti-Quinn group called New York City Is Not for Sale, criticized the speaker for her initial opposition to paid sick days and for helping Mayor Michael Bloomberg extend a voter-approved term limit law to allow him to run for a third term.
“This attack ad,” Quinn wrote in a letter to supporters, “funded by those closely aligned with my opponents, is an all-out effort to undermine New York City’s public campaign finance system… What a disgrace.”
Notwithstanding Quinn’s demand, the group, who call themselves ABQ — Anybody But Quinn — said they spent $250,000 on the ad and has pledges of up to $1 million to keep it running.
At the mayoral forum, Quinn tried to throw down her own challenge to her foes that they join her in denouncing the infusion of large sums from outside groups. Thompson, de Balsio, Comptroller John Liu and the others questioned her why she had never opposed the “independent expenditures” in the past.
“I didn’t call [for] this sooner because honestly I never anticipated that this would be a part of this year’s elections in New York City,” Quinn replied.
Following the debate, De Blasio wrote a letter to Quinn accusing her of selective denunciation of outside money.
“I’ve stood up for real change and reform when it comes to our finance laws,” he wrote. That’s why stunts like that offered today ring so hollow.”