Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn and her allies Wednesday denounced remarks attributed to rival Bill de Blasio's wife -- which turned out to be a misquote -- as an attack on Quinn for being childless.
Quinn stood by her criticism even after The New York Times corrected the quote from Chirlane McCray in Maureen Dowd's column. Quinn, who is gay and married, said during a news conference that "I just think it is inappropriate and saddening for people to comment on other people's family."
"I have a family," Quinn said, referring to a large extended family with 10 nieces and nephews with whom she and her wife are close.
Before marrying de Blasio in the 1990s, McCray identified as a lesbian.
The fireworks come less than three weeks before the Sept. 10 primary. De Blasio has risen to front-runner ranks in recent polls, tied with or ahead of Quinn.
In the original Dowd column published Wednesday, McCray was quoted as telling Dowd during an interview that Quinn is "not the kind of person I feel I can go up and talk to about issues like taking care of children at a young age."
The corrected quote showed McCray had cited a number of issues of concern to women, including moms with young children, and then said "she is not the kind of person who you can talk to and go up to and have a conversation with about those things." Dowd blamed her error on background noise during the interview.
De Blasio campaign manager Bill Hyers said in a statement the remarks were directed at Quinn's "indefensible policy record," and in a mayoral debate Wednesday night, de Blasio said, "It's not personal, it's substantive." After the debate, McCray said Quinn's childlessness "has nothing to do with it. It was about the policies."
Quinn's chief spokesman, Mike Morey, stood by a statement of outrage issued before the correction, and Quinn supporters piled on.
The city's National Organization for Women president, Sonia Ossorio, said: "The statement is unfair, outrageous and offensive to Chris and the men and women across New York City who don't have children." Candidate Bill Thompson's campaign manager, Jonathan Prince, also weighed in, tweeting, "No room for divisive code words in Dem primary or anywhere." With Anthony M. DeStefano