Christine Quinn Goes Into Attack Mode as She Vows to Run City Like ‘The Boss’

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn giving her most political speech to-date.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn giving her most political speech to-date in East Harlem Monday.

Some candidates revere former mayors and presidents as their political inspiration. But for Christine Quinn, it’s all about Bruce Springsteen.

The City Council speaker and mayoral candidate delivered a scathing speech against her rivals Monday morning, touting her record and vowing to run the city in the model of her musical idol, “The Boss.”

“Anyone who’s ever been to a Bruce concert will tell you he doesn’t hold anything back. He leaves everything on the stage. He gives everything he has to give,” she said. “And if I’m lucky enough to become our next mayor that’s how I’ll spend every day. Delivering results for New Yorkers. Holding nothing back. Emptying my tank.”

In what was billed “a major speech” in the back room of an East Harlem asthma center, Ms. Quinn delivered what was–by far–her most overtly political and blistering remarks to date. Ms. Quinn, who has up until now stuck largely to touting her own record, shoveled out the criticism, taking one thinly veiled shot after the next.

“This election is not about who can get the most press or give the most pithy sound bite,” Ms. Quinn said at one point, for example, obviously referencing former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s high-profile candidacy. “It isn’t about who can yell the loudest or be the most critical.”

She even slammed Mr. Weiner’s policy proposal book, which borrowed heavily from his aborted 2009 bid.

“I offer something else, the toughness to lead,” she said. “Comprehensive solutions to complicated problems–not 4-year-old position papers dusted off for a comeback run.”

On former Comptroller Bill Thomson, with whom Ms. Quinn has repeatedly clashed over the controversial Upper East Side waste transfer station: “Some of my opponents in this race continue to pander to residents of the Upper East Side,” the speaker said.

“Like me, my opponents have spent many years in public office,” Ms. Quinn said later, leveling fire at the whole field. “But when you look at their records, there’s a great big hole where results should be. You may not agree with everything I’ve done, but there’s never been a time in my career when I wasn’t getting results for New York.”

“That’s what we need from the next mayor,” she added. “Not just empty promises, silly press stunts, or nonstop criticism, but a real plan on how to deliver for New Yorkers.”

The speech comes at a vulnerable moment for Ms. Quinn, the race’s front-runner who has found her once-dominating poll numbers slipping and her position as the race’s most visible candidate eclipsed by Mr. Weiner’s entrée three months before primary day.

Today, she tried to shine the spotlight back on her record on issues like education, affordable  housing and the waste station, which she argued put her far ahead of her crowded field of opponents.

“If you want a candidate who lobs criticism on the steps of City Hall or on the floor of Congress, I’m not your gal. I would rather roll up my sleeves than point my finger, because that’s how progress is made. It’s what I’ve always done. And if I’m lucky enough to be Mayor, it’s exactly what I’ll continue to do,” she told the audience of loyal supporters.

“Talk is cheap. Voters will decide based on actions,” she added.

After her remarks, Ms. Quinn was nonchalant about the timing of her speech, which she noted comes as many voters are tuning in to the race.

“We are clearly in the thick of the election season now and this race is about the future of New York,” she said, immediately pivoting back to her record, which she said tops all of her opponents in the race. “We are less than three months away from primary day and I think it’s really important to lay out exactly what the choice is. And that’s what I’ve done today.”

One reporter noted that the same argument failed for her two City Council speaker predecessors, who lost their bids for mayor.

“With all due respect to my predecessors, I don’t think you can touch the record of the City Council since I’ve been speaker,” she replied boldly. “I’ll stack my record against anyone who’s running and quite frankly anyone who has run.”

But the other candidates quickly began shooting back.

“Speaker Quinn has sided with rich Manhattan interests at the expense of the working people of the city. But her attacks today won’t solve the challenges facing working New Yorkers,” Mr. Thompson’s campaign said in a statement released even before Ms. Quinn had delivered her speech. “Bill Thompson will stay focused on the leadership we need to fix our schools, keep our city safe, and make the city work for working New Yorkers.”

And Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s campaign manager, Bill Hyers, said Ms. Quinn had her priorities backwards.

“Speaker Quinn’s accomplishments include giving Mayor Bloomberg a third term, proposing to shower big developers with a billion dollar giveaway, and blocking key progressive legislation for years to placate big business. Bill de Blasio has fought to protect abused kids, expose slum landlords, and invest in education by asking the wealthy to pay a little more in taxes. This election is not a contrast in getting things done — it’s about who you are fighting for.”