This afternoon, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn offered a heartfelt rebuttal to comments made by Chirlane McCray–the wife of Ms. Quinn’s opponent, Bill de Blasio–despite an admission by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that Ms. McCray had been misquoted.
“I agree with Maureen that the sentiment is the same and that sentiment, to me, is really saddening and troubling,” said Ms. Quinn at the end of an unrelated press conference at City Hall. “I don’t understand why Ms. McCray or why the public advocate sitting next to her would allow statements to be made that clearly indicate that somehow I am not able to listen to women, listen to families, serve women and families who do not have children.”
Ms. Quinn went on to call the comments “inappropriate” and hurtful and argued that her status as parent was irrelevant to the election.
“I have a family. In my apartment, my wife and I, we’re a family,” she said, her voice cracking slightly. “Our 10 nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews, we’re a family. My father and I, Kim’s dad. we’re a family. When I took care of my mother when she was dying, that’s a family. Kim and I lost our mothers. People make personal decision, for medical reasons, all kinds of reasons, that go into why people do and don’t have children. And no one should comment about that and make it a political issue.”
Earlier today, Ms. Dowd incorrectly quoted Ms. McCray, claiming that Ms. McCray said that Ms. Quinn, who does not have children, is “not the kind of person I feel I can go up to and talk to about issues like taking care of children at a young age.”
This resulted in Ms. Quinn sending out a blistering statement criticizing Mr. de Blasio for being insensitive toward families like hers. And even though the Times admitted their error, the Quinn team maintains its original bombardment.
“We stand by our statement, as the essence of Ms. McCray’s quote is the same,” Quinn spokesman Mike Morey said in a followup statement. “The updated Maureen Dowd column affirms the fact that the de Blasio campaign made it quite clear they believe that Christine Quinn is not the ‘kind of person who you can talk to and go up to and have a conversation [with] about those things…’ directly referencing ‘tak[ing] care of children at a young age.’”
The corrected quote, it should be noted, does not quite have the same negative connotations as the first, with the “children” point coming amid a host of policy priorities Ms. McCray feels Ms. Quinn’s agenda isn’t addressing.
“I don’t see her speaking to the concerns of women who have to take care of children at a young age or send them to school and after school, paid sick days, workplace, she is not speaking to any of those issues. What can I say? And she is not accessible, she is not the kind of person who you can talk to and go up to and have a conversation with about those things,” Ms. McCray actually said, according to audio released by the de Blasio campaign and an updated version of the Times piece.
Reached for a response, a de Blasio spokesman pointed to the campaign’s first statement in response to Ms. Quinn.
“As the transcript makes clear,” de Blasio campaign manager Bill Hyers argued then, “her actual comments were about Speaker Quinn’s unwillingness to listen to the people on education, and paid sick leave, and any suggestion otherwise is disingenuous and absurd.”