De Blasio, at last, makes it official: He's for Clinton

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Left Turn? De Blasio Endorses Clinton, Not Sanders

NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio finally announced Friday that he is backing Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, a much-discussed endorsement that had prompted some criticism from fellow Democrats for being so long in coming.

De Blasio said Clinton was the candidate best suited to navigate Washington and actually enact liberal policies to combat income inequality.

"The candidate who I believe can fundamentally address income inequality effectively, the candidate who has the right vision and the right experience to get the job done, is Hillary Clinton," the New York City mayor said during an early morning appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio through the years
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De Blasio, at last, makes it official: He's for Clinton
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio gives an interview with The Associated Press at City Hall, Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
New York City Council member Bill De Blasio, right, confers with city council member Letitia James during proceedings on their lawsuit Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008 in New York, to block a proposed Oct. 23 vote that could alter term limits for some of the city's elected officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Judge Jacquelyn Silbermann denied the request to block voting on Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to change the term-limits law so he can run for a third term. (AP Photo/ Marc A. Hermann, Pool)
Bill de Blasio, right, Democratic hopeful for the office of the New York City Public Advocate, speaks from the podium as opponent Mark Green looks on during a debate at the WNYC studios in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Susana Bates, Pool)
New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio delivers his acceptance speech after being sworn in during a ceremony on the steps of City Hall in New York, Friday, Jan. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)
Bill de Blasio, right, is sworn in as New York City public advocate by Congressman Jerrold Nadler during a ceremony on the steps of City Hall, Friday, Jan. 1, 2010 in New York. Looking on are di Blasio's wife, Charlane, second from right, son, Dante, center, and daughter, Chiara. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)
New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio speaks to reporters outside of a police precinct in New York, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Bill de Blasio had been arrested on disorderly conduct charges in a protest over the possible closure of a Brooklyn hospital. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
John Liu, left, reacts as fellow New York mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio speaks during AARP's town hall forum on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 at Hunter College in New York. All invited candidates, except Christine Quinn who did not attend, laid out their positions on key issues before an audience of largely age 50 and over voters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio leaves a candidate forum in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013. The Democratic candidates for New York City mayor are holding their first debate Tuesday evening. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Bill de Blasio responds to questions after the Democratic New York City mayoral debate Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio participates in the first primary debate for New York City mayor in the WABC/Channel 7 studios in New York. With rival Anthony Wiener sliding in the polls, de Blasio’s battle against closing hospitals and an ad that features his interracial son, the candidate once thought of as an afterthought in the Democratic Party is now the front runner. (AP Photo/New York Daily News, James Keivom, Pool)
FILE- In this Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio speaks at a candidate forum in New York. A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 says de Blasio is now the choice of 36 percent of likely Democratic voters. His new numbers have him near the 40 percent threshold that would prevent a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Bill de Blasio, running in the NYC Mayor's race, foreground second from right, dances with his family as he makes his way along Eastern Parkway in the Brooklyn borough of New York during the West Indian Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio is joined by his daughter Chiara during a campaign rally in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. The Democratic primary election is Tuesday, Sept. 10. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio smiles during a rally in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. De Blasio, who has been the most vocally anti-Bloomberg of the major candidates, emerged from Tuesday's primary election as the Democratic front-runner. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio rides the subway while greeting commuters in New York, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. The mayoral election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York City mayoral candidates, Republican Joe Lhota, left, and Democrat Bill de Blasio, shake hands prior to the beginning of their final debate, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Wall Street Journal, Peter Foley, Pool)
Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio arrives at a campaign stop at a subway station in New York, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. The mayoral election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2013 file photo, New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, left, join Mayor Michael Bloomberg for a meeting in the "Bull Pen," the mayor's main City Hall office, in New York. Bloomberg said Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, that he hopes de Blasio's administration "is even better" than his own. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 file photo, New York Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio embraces his son Dante, left, daughter Chiara, second left, and wife Chirlane McCray after polls closed in the city's primary election in New York. De Blasio and his wife settled in the Park Slope neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York largely because they felt that their interracial relationship would be accepted there, the mayor-elect has said. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
Former President Bill Clinton, left, speaks before he administers the oath of office to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, right, as Chiara de Blasio, second from left, Dante de Blasio, center, and wife Chirlane McCray, second from right, watch on the steps of City Hall Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in the Queens borough of New York. De Blasio, who as public advocate in 2010 criticized his predecessor Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his handling of a large snowstorm, dispatched hundreds of plows and salt spreaders on the streets as soon as the snow started falling Thursday night. The New York metropolitan area got between 6 to 11 inches of snow. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio exchanges high-fives with school children at MS 51 after he announced Carmen Farina as the next New York City schools chancellor, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. De Blasio takes office Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hugs his wife Chirlane McCray at a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Jan. 20, 2014. De Blasio told a packed audience Monday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music that the "price of inequality has deepened." The mayor says economic inequality is closing doors for hard-working people in the city and around the country. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio touches his thumb to his chin as he delivers his State of the City address at LaGuardia Community College in the Queens borough of New York, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. De Blasio, delivering one of the most important speeches of his young administration, outlined his vision for New York and offered a glimpse into his signature goal of fighting the city's widening income inequality gap. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, talks with first responders near the site of a gas leak-triggered explosion in East Harlem, Thursday, March 13, 2014, in New York. Rescuers working amid gusty winds, cold temperatures and billowing smoke pulled additional bodies Thursday from the rubble of two apartment buildings that collapsed Wednesday. (AP Photo/The Daily News, Marcus Santos, Pool)
FILE- In this May 7, 2015 file photo, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during his executive budget presentation in New York. De Blasio on Thursday, July 9, did not back down in his ongoing feud with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, doubling down on his criticisms of Albany, rebuffing a call for a "pasta summit" to clear the air and vowing he would continue to call out further obstructions from his friend-turned-foe. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, Pool, File)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a map showing the location in the Bronx borough of cooling towers, red triangles, and people, red dots, that were infected with Legionnaires' disease during a news conference to provide an update of the Legionnaires' disease outbreak, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in New York. Ten people have died and 101 have been sickened amid the largest outbreak of Legionnaires, disease in New York City's history. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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The Associated Press and other media outlets reported Monday that de Blasio had, at last, decided to end the months of speculation surrounding his endorsement and would back Clinton.

The delay had long puzzled some political observers and frustrated some within the Democratic Party, including a few inside City Hall.

The first-term mayor has long-standing ties to the Clintons. He worked in the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton and was then plucked from relative political obscurity to run Hillary Clinton's successful 2000 U.S. Senate campaign.

He remained close to the couple, who appeared on stage with him at his January 2014 inauguration. President Clinton administered his oath of office.

But de Blasio appeared on "Meet the Press" the morning of Hillary Clinton's campaign announcement in April and said that unlike other New York politicians — including both U.S. senators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo — he would not automatically be backing the former secretary of state.

"I think she's one of the most qualified people to ever run for this office and, by the way, thoroughly vetted," de Blasio said then. "But we need to see the substance."

He stuck to that script in the coming months even as criticism mounted within the party. He also stuck to it during the rise of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who shares many of de Blasio's left-leaning views.

The mayor also moved toward making himself a national figure on liberal issues, particularly on the fight against income inequality, and founded The Progressive Agenda Committee, which is hosting a presidential forum in early-voting Iowa this December. (It's unclear which candidates may attend. Invitations go out next week.)

But polls reflected that many New Yorkers felt that de Blasio was prioritizing the national over the municipal, and many of his advisers inside and outside City Hall urged him to simply take the plunge and endorse Clinton.

On Friday, he finally did, choosing the day politicians traditionally use to dump less than flattering news and a week in which the city is distracted by the Superstorm Sandy anniversary and the Mets' World Series run. He offered a spirited defense of his former boss.

"There's a lot of spine there and a lot of steel there," said de Blasio. "She has said what she believes in. This is a very sharp, progressive platform, and she has the ability to follow through on it."

A Clinton spokesman did not respond to a request for comment about the endorsement. Instead, the campaign sent out an email to reporters touting the new support of 87 mayors across the nation.

Some of the mayors were quoted in the release. De Blasio, mayor of the nation's largest city, was listed fourth.



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