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De Blasio defends likability, polling numbers in Dem presidential race

Democratic presidential candidate New York Mayor Bill de

Democratic presidential candidate New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, right, and his wife Chirlane McCray speak with veterans and military families Saturday in Las Vegas. Credit: AP/John Locher

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his likability amid low poll numbers in the Democratic presidential primary Sunday, asserting that his challenge to President Donald Trump gets “under his skin.”

Asked on CNN's "State of the Union" if he had a “likability problem,” de Blasio pointed to his two terms as New York City mayor.

“I’ve built those very broad coalitions and folks had to have liked me to have made me mayor of New York City twice,” de Blasio told anchor Dana Bash.

De Blasio ticked off a number of what he described as progressive accomplishments, with policies including paid sick leave, universal pre-K, and guaranteed health care for the uninsured.

“I run the largest, toughest, most diverse city in America. I’m the chief executive of that city, and I’ve made things happen for working people,” de Blasio said.

Polls have shown little support for his candidacy. Last month, a Quinnipiac University poll found that 76 percent of the city's voters thought de Blasio should not run for president. Polls from Monmouth University last month and in March showed only 1 percent of potential primary voters supported a de Blasio bid.

“If I had believed the polls, listened to the polls in all my other elections, I might’ve just stayed home,” de Blasio said, appearing on video from Las Vegas, where he was campaigning. “But it’s not where you start, it’s where you end. So much of the time, the polls don’t tell us the truth. When people get to know you and see what you’re about, that’s what they respond to.”

De Blasio said that he’s “watched him [Trump] for decades. I understand his game plan, I understand his tricks and his strategies, and I do get under his skin.”

De Blasio noted that he has knocked Trump as a con artist with the moniker, “ConDon.”

Also Sunday, de Blasio joined fellow presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) in criticizing former Vice President Joe Biden for his support of the 1994 crime bill. De Blasio said the bill led to mass incarcerations. Earlier this month, Biden defended the bill and said it had not created mass incarceration, although he conceded the legislation was not perfect.

Biden, then a U.S. Senator representing Delaware, was an architect of the federal crime bill. "The vice president and anyone else has to be accountable for every vote they take, and what's on their record, and I think that was a huge mistake," de Blasio said.

After de Blasio jumped into the race, Trump blasted him on Twitter, writing, "He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he’s your man. NYC HATES HIM!”

Asked about whether Trump should be impeached, de Blasio said, “I think we should continue the investigations in Congress aggressively." But he said he was worried that Democrats weren't talking enough about issues such as health care and infrastructure.

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