Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota Monday endorsed a key national GOP demand that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate be delayed, even as he slammed Washington Republicans for encouraging the government shutdown.
"I do not agree with holding up the government. I do not agree with defunding the affordable health care act," Lhota said in Chinatown. "What I agree to is holding it [the mandate] up until all of the administrative rules are in place."
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While Republicans want to shelve President Barack Obama's signature legislation for a year, Lhota didn't commit to a time frame.
"Joe Lhota says he is a different kind of Republican, but when push comes to shove, he sides with the GOP fringe," Democratic rival Bill de Blasio's spokesman Dan Levitan said in an email to reporters.
Lhota has sought to distance himself from tea party members as a self-proclaimed "New York Republican" who is socially liberal.
But he was seen condemning the bureaucracy surrounding gun license renewals as "harassment" in an April 25 video of a Staten Island Tea Party meeting released Monday night by NY1. Lhota told NY1 he still disagrees with tea party views.
He also condemned de Blasio's plan to limit charter schools. Lhota is expected to meet with thousands of charter school supporters this morning in Manhattan after they march across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Lhota was somewhat in step with de Blasio in mourning the death of Ovadia Yosef, the former chief rabbi of Israel, who has made racist and homophobic comments.
"His wisdom, charity and sensitivity were legendary," de Blasio tweeted of Yosef, with Twitter followers responding, "What the hell? Yosef was a vicious racist."
Lhota said, "I mourn his death, but I also know that he's made statements over time that were unfortunate."