Christine Quinn and Bill Thompson, two of the top contenders for the 2013 mayoral nomination stood shoulder to shoulder on the steps of City Hall this morning, united for a half an hour under a common purpose: getting the message out about Mitt Romney’s shady financial dealings.
“Come clean. Come clean about your investments and release a sufficient number of tax returns to the American people,” Ms. Quinn said, referring to recent report that the GOP presidential nominee transferred some of his wealth off-shore to avoid disclosure or large tax payments. “Why the secrecy? What is Governor Romney hiding and why?”
“We say to Governor Romney: Come clean with the American people,” echoed Mr. Thompson. “I don’t think we have had a candidate for president in modern era who has released less information than Governor Romney has…The closer you look the more questions are raised each and every day.”
The two were joined by East Side Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, but by far the most intrigue was due to the fact that two of the front-runners for the city’s top job were standing side-by-side for a political purpose. By their mere presence, the two represent a significant part of the Democratic primary electorate in New York City–Ms. Quinn, who is a favorite of the Manhattan business community, west side liberals and the LGBT bloc, and Mr. Thompson, who is a favorite of the city’s sizeable black and Latino populations.
Asked during the press conference how the three came together to deliver the rebuke to Mr. Romney today, Ms. Quinn deadpanned, “The three of us were out at breakfast yesterday. We said, ‘you know what would be a lot of fun? If we all got together on the steps.’ Billy had bacon-and-eggs, Carolyn had the french toast.”
It did not appear however as if they were picked to round out any particular tableau for the re-election campaign of President Obama. A Democratic National Committee spokesman said that the campaign reached out to all of the mayoral contenders, including John Liu, Bill de Blasio and Scott Stringer, but only Mr. Thompson and Ms. Quinn were available on short notice. (The spokesman said that they reached out to the entire local congressional delegation as well, but only Ms. Maloney answered the call.)
There is something of a fraught history between the two of them, however. In 2009, both were considered top contenders to replace Mayor Mike Bloomberg until term limits were extended. Ms. Quinn, a close ally of the mayor’s, decided to seek another term in the Council. Mr. Thompson was left to mount a campaign against the heavy favorite, and Ms. Quinn only belatedly endorsed him.
But in that campaign, Mr. Thompson also received only a cursory endorsement from the man he was called on to help today–President Barack Obama. Then, the president never appeared alongside Mr. Thompson, and never uttered the words “endorse,” but they did have their picture taken together and the Thompson campaign distributed the photo widely.
Asked if there would be a Democrat sitting at City Hall today if Ms. Quinn and Mr. Obama had been stronger supporters of his, Mr. Thompson said, “We are here to talk about 2012, and I think that is the important thing. The direction of this country, who sits in the White House, that is the most important thing. This isn’t about the past.This is about today, this is about the future of this country, and I think that is why the three of us are here today.”