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John Liu: It's 'understandable' if you think I can't become mayor

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City Comptroller John Liu knows the road to City Hall in 2013 won't be easy after the arrests of members of his campaign team and an ongoing federal probe.

In an interview with the Associated Press published Sunday Liu responded to public speculation that he can't become the next mayor as "an understandable assessment."

Liu, the first Asian American elected to a citywide office in New York, didn't talk specifics about his future, which could potentially include a mayoral bid next year.

"Am I being vague or evasive? You could say on one level, yes," he told the AP. "But for the same exact reasons that most of my rivals are answering the questions the same way."

Other big-name pols, including Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, have been named as possible Democratic candidates.

But Liu's campaign troubles could essentially derail his aspirations for 2013, pundits said.

His troubles began last November with the arrest of a New Jersey businessman on charges related to illegal fundraising on behalf of Liu's campaign.

Then, last month, Liu's campaign treasurer was arrested for allegedly accepting illegal donations and faces up to 20 years in prison for each count. Jenny Hou, 25, is free on $100,000 bail and is expected back in court Thursday.

Hou's new lawyer, Gerald Lefcourt, could not be reached for comment yesterday. A Liu campaign attorney previously represented her.

Liu was not implicated in either federal investigation, and told the AP he had "no dealings" in the compliance of his campaign's fundraising.

He also said members of the Asian-American community have asked why he's being scrutinized, opening questions about ethnic targeting, the AP reported.

Meanwhile, the tide has been turning against Liu: Recent public opinion polls show his approval rating falling to 40% from 51% before the scandal.

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