Bill de Blasio Talks Religion in the Bronx

Bill de Blasio schmoozing at the senior center.

Bill de Blasio schmoozing at the senior center.

Bill de Blasio today denounced the deployment of a handful of vans blaring messages that suggest the Democratic mayoral front-runner is a “closet socialist,” atheistic and “anti-church.”

“It’s inappropriate and it’s obviously, it’s desperate. And whoever’s doing this is trying to go and confuse people,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters when asked about the vans during a press scrum in the Bronx.

“And I’m confused myself whether this individual is paid for by the Lhota campaign or not,” he added.

According to the Daily News, the vans have been circling the city, broadcasting anti-de Blasio messages at various locations, including outside a Harlem subway stop.

“Bill de Blasio says he doesn’t believe in churches and he doesn’t believe in God either,” says the voice, according to the paper, which credited the effort to a man who identified himself as Dany Esquilin.

Campaign finance records show a man by that name has done work for the Lhota  campaign. But Mr. Lhota’ spokeswoman insisted the vans were never authorized.

“Joe denounced it and called on him to immediately stop,” she said.

Mr. de Blasio was in the northeast Bronx to visit the Bay Eden Senior Center, where he appeared with a host of local officials hours before the polls are set to open tomorrow at 6.m. In his remarks, Mr. de Blasio, who remains a good 40 points ahead in public polls, promised a clear break from the Bloomberg administration.

“The way that Mayor Bloomberg did things is not the only way to do things, I assure you,” he told the group, urging those gathered in the room to not only turn out to vote, but to bring along family members, friends, and bridge buddies. “The road to City Hall runs through the Bronx,” he said.

After his remarks, Mr. de Blasio made the rounds, greeting excited voters who treated him like a celebrity.

“I was so happy to meet him today and we’re looking forward to voting for him tomorrow. Praise God! Praise God!” said Mary Tatum, 63.

“He’s for us,” echoed Violet Mew, 84, a retired health care worker, who said she was thrilled to see Mr. Bloomberg go.

Speaking to reporters outside the center later in the chilly autumn air, Mr. de Blasio was asked about his religions views, give the van’s attacks.

“It’s obviously too big and too complicated a topic to try to talk about in a press conference,” began Mr. de Blasio, whose family background is Catholic, but was not raised in the faith. “I’m not affiliated with any particular church. I do consider myself a spiritual person,” he went on. “As I’ve said many times, I was very influenced by liberation theology, by Christian liberation theology in the work I did after college and after graduate school.”

He also doubled down on his prediction that tomorrow will be a blowout, turnout-wise.

“I keep telling people,” he said. “Get ready for it. We had an extraordinary volunteer operation on primary day. This is going to be many times bigger.”