Hillary Clinton to host de Blasio fundraiser

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends the Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends the Closing Plenary Session of the Clinton Global Initiative in Manhattan. (Sept. 26, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Hillary Clinton will throw her political star power behind Bill de Blasio and host a fundraiser in New York City next month for the Democratic mayoral candidate, his campaign said Thursday.

The former secretary of state, along with former President Bill Clinton, endorsed de Blasio last week, calling him a "friend" of many years and saying they were "proud to see him run a thoughtful, creative campaign about the issues."

The fundraiser, at a time and place still to be announced, will be one of Hillary Rodham Clinton's first partisan events since leaving her secretary post in February. A potential 2016 presidential contender, Clinton also is scheduled to host two fundraisers -- the first on Monday -- for Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

Hillary Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill Thursday referred questions about the fundraiser to de Blasio's campaign. De Blasio, meeting voters in Harlem, said she has been "extraordinarily supportive" and "I think it's going to be a very important moment for this campaign."

De Blasio, 52, managed Hillary Clinton's successful 2000 Senate race and worked, along with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in Bill Clinton's administration at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Republican candidate Joe Lhota, in a live Huffington Post interview Thursday, appealed to moderate voters. He called himself "a unique type of Republican in that . . . I am pro-choice, I am pro-marriage equality. . . . I still believe that we should legalize marijuana."

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Lhota defended the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy, which de Blasio has criticized. Lhota, 58, said statistics show a disproportionate number of crimes are committed by young men of color, adding that the issue is "a very difficult one for a bald, white, fat guy to talk about."

De Blasio, who has been deflecting Lhota's attacks over his 1980s activism on behalf of the leftist Sandinistas in Nicaragua, went on the offensive Thursday.

The Democrat attacked a legal effort by a pro-Lhota political action committee to overturn a $150,000 state limit on individual contributions to PACs. He called it "clearly part of an effort to advantage my Republican opponent . . . by bringing more and more money flooding into the political process from wealthy right-wing donors."

Lhota said he views the PAC's fight as one for First Amendment rights.Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, at a Chelsea event Thursday, chastised reporters for asking him about the mayoral race.

"I have not listened to one campaign speech or seen one ad or watched one debate," he said. "I have to run this city."

Asked if he cares about de Blasio's leftist-activist past, Bloomberg said of the candidates: "If you are interested in their past, which to me is less important than what they do in the future, you can ask them."

With Ivan Pereira

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