State Senator Daniel Squadron would not deny tonight that his campaign was behind a controversial robocall attacking his rival in the public advocate’s race, Councilwoman Tish James.
In a tense NY1 interview on the eve of tomorrow’s Democratic runoff, Mr. Squadron was pressed repeatedly about whether his camp was responsible for a 15-second anonymous message left on many voters’ answering machines purporting to be from a woman named “Katie.”
In the call, the woman says that Ms. James has “lost her trust and lost her vote” because of a Daily News editorial that reports the candidate had failed to donate her council bonus to charity, as she’d previously claimed she would.
At first, Mr. Squadron tried to brush aside the question by telling host Errol Louis he had not yet heard the call. “There’s a specific phone call that went out,” Mr. Louis said. “It purports to be somebody saying, ‘Oh, hi this is so-and-so. Oh, did you know that Tish James X, Y and Z?’ Says a lot of negatives stuff. ‘I can’t trust her, I’m not going to vote for her. Bye.’ And there’s nothing else … You’re saying this did not come from your campaign?”
“No, I’m saying that I haven’t heard it,” Mr. Squadron began.
But Mr. Louis kept on pressing. “Well I don’t care whether you heard it, did it come from your campaign?” Mr. Louis asked, eventually offering–and then playing–the robocall live on the air.
Mr. Squadron responded by alleging the existence of a robocall from an Obamacare-opposing “Daniel Squadron,” which his spokeswoman called “reprehensible” and “outrageous” earlier this evening.
“Look, I heard about a robocall going out this weekend claiming that I was against so-called Obamacare, which I’m not. Everything that my campaign has done … has been based on facts that are relevant to this office,” Mr. Squadron replied.
Mr. Louis finally gave up.
“Alright, because you’re not answering the question,” he said, “I’m going to assume that your campaign put out that anonymous robocall and I think most of our viewers are going to assume the same thing. Are you okay with that?”
“People are going to assume what they want to assume,” replied Mr. Squadron.
His campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Listen to the robocall below: