Four rivals challenging City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's bid for mayor of New York City assailed her during a televised debate Tuesday night for helping Michael Bloomberg overturn term limits and run for a third time.
"We all know she delivered for Michael Bloomberg by giving him a third term," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who dislodged Quinn from first place in a Quinnipiac poll released hours earlier.
Alluding to the rationale for a third term -- that the city needed steady leadership while the economy was in free fall -- Bill Thompson said: "We changed a president in 2008. . . . By that measure we should have suspended that election also. Speaker Quinn betrayed the people of the City of New York and undermined democracy, and that's a fact."
Asked by the moderator, WABC-TV's Bill Ritter, whether it was a mistake to agree to the term limit waiver, Quinn said: "It's a decision that I made, and like I do every day at City Hall, I make the decisions that I think are best for New Yorkers. But the truth is, my opponents will keep attacking me on this because they don't want to talk about their records."
Attack they did, not just on term limits, but also on her role in passing -- or not passing for three years -- legislation on guaranteeing a "living wage" for workers at some city-subsidized developments and for standing by police Commissioner Ray Kelly -- overseer of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy.
De Blasio slammed Quinn for saying she'd like to keep Kelly, "the person who is the architect of the overuse of stop and frisk that's caused such harm in this city."
Quinn said: "Ray Kelly in a lot of regards has done a terrific job, but not every regard. The way he's done stop and frisk is something I wouldn't support."
The first words of the evening from Anthony Weiner, the former congressman whose poll standing has nosedived since revelations that his sexting recurred after he quit Congress, were an apology for the scandal.
He soon attacked Quinn over the third term.
Quinn retorted: "Neither me nor anyone else on this stage -- or any New Yorker, quite frankly -- should be lectured by Anthony Weiner about what we need to apologize for, tonight or ever."
Quinn said she stood out from the field competing in the Sept. 10 primary for getting results for the middle class "and those fighting to get into the middle class."
De Blasio said he supports increasing taxes on the rich, invoking his central message that New York has become "a tale of two cities" because of income inequalities.
Comptroller John Liu also supports tax increases.
Quinn and Thompson said they would raise taxes as a last resort, and Weiner said he would cut taxes by 10 percent for New Yorkers making $150,000 or less and raise them by 1 percent for those earning over $1 million.
If no candidate reaches 40 percent, the top two finishers advance to a runoff on Oct. 1.
Every one of the candidates had their wives in the audience at WABC-TV studios except Weiner. He said afterward that his wife, Huma Abedin, was babysitting their toddler.