Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand endorsed Bill Thompson for mayor at Union Square this afternoon, praising him for everything from his stewardship of the city pension to his long career in public service to his everyman quality.
Schumer praised Thompson for fighting for residents “in every borough of New York City, not just Manhattan.” Gillibrand said Thompson “fundamentally understands the struggles that middle class families are facing today.”
But Schumer and Gillibrand refused to say anything negative about Thompson’s opponent, Michael Bloomberg, avoiding the three major issues Thompson has routinely invoked when explaining why Bloomberg should be ousted: extending term limits, the rising cost of living, and Bloomberg’s unprecedented campaign spending.
After saying that middle-class New Yorkers were “struggling” and warning that “we can’t just become a city of the rich and the poor,” I asked him how responsible he felt Bloomberg is for middle-class New Yorkers feeling like they’re being priced out of the city.
“Well, I’m not going to say anything negative about Michael Bloomberg. I’m just talking positively about Bill Thompson. That’s what I’ve always done,” said Schumer. “When I endorsed Call McCall, I didn’t anything negative about Andrew Cuomo. I’m here because I believe in Bill Thompson, I’m positive about Bill Thompson.”
When asked about term limits, Schumer said he’s “always been against term limits on the federal level. I haven’t really delved into it on the local level.”
Gillibrand said she would support a referendum on term limits, “but I’m here again to endorse Bill.”
When asked if he thought Bloomberg’s campaign spending was “fair”–it’s calculated at $15,000 an hour–Schumer said his predecessor, Al D’Amato, outspent him 3 to 1.
“This is 16 to1,” the reporter, Michael Barbaro noted.
Schumer, continuing to answer, said, “As long as you get your message out, Bill Thompson is doing a very good job of getting that message out, I think that people will choose the person who is best to govern this city in the next four years. And that person is Bill Thompson.”
Aides then yelled to conclude questioning, and the three posed for photographs with supporters and random passers-by.