For Joe Lhota, the mayor’s race is no bed of roses.
The Republican candidate slammed his front-running rival Bill de Blasio today for limiting his public appearances in the wake of his primary victory–a “Rose Garden” strategy similar to that employed by incumbent presidents who ignore their opponents, some have observed.
“I’ve never seen a Rose Garden strategy work,” Mr. Lhota said at a press conference in Queens where he unveiled his economic development plan. “The last time anybody really employed a Rose Garden strategy, it was … the first George Bush who sat back only to get beat by Bill Clinton. Rose Garden strategies don’t work.”
Mr. Lhota was responding to a question about whether Mr. de Blasio’s tactics would end up giving Mr. Lhota, a former deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration, some kind of edge in the race. He said he thought it would.
“I’m out in the boroughs every single day talking about the issues that are important to the citizens of New York,” Mr. Lhota argued. “That’s what will win this election … Let’s make this a real campaign, let’s start the debates, let’s get going.”
“When are the debates scheduled?” chimed an elderly woman beyond the media scrum.
In addition to criticizing Mr. de Blasio for–at one point literally–running away from the press, Mr. Lhota has unsuccessfully called on his rival to participate in debates in each of the five boroughs. (Instead there will be three.)
“I requested that there be one a week every week between now and the election and he did not agree to it,” Mr. Lhota replied.
The de Blasio campaign declined to comment, but the candidate told reporters yesterday that he intends to ramp up his interaction with voters in the coming days.
“We’ve had obviously a period of reset in this race … Now we’re getting ready for a very vigorous general election campaign,” he said, reminding reporters of all the time he spent talking to voters at subway stops and street corners during the primary. “You’re going to be seeing a lot more of the same from this point on,” he vowed.