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De Blasio Hits Trail For First Time As Democratic Front-Runner

Says His Rivals Are Clearly Concerned About Him
Bill de Blasio appears at a campaign event in downtown Brooklyn. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

Bill de Blasio appears at a campaign event in downtown Brooklyn. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

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New York (CBS/NewYork) — Welcome to the spotlight, Bill de Blasio.

The mayoral candidate — and new Democratic front-runner, according to a Quinnipiac poll — started his day of campaigning by appearing on national television, then was greeted at a campaign stop in downtown Brooklyn by a small crowd energized by his new status, WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reported.

“I have never been as well known as some of the people I’ve run against, whether that’s when I first ran for City Council, when I ran for public advocate or today,” de Blasio said in Brooklyn.

A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday said the city’s public advocate has support from 30 percent of likely Democratic voters, six percentage points higher than City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. During a debate Tuesday night, de Blasio’s rivals tried to downplay the poll, but he said Wednesday that it’s clear they are more concerned about his campaign than they let on.

“There was some newfound interest in challenging some of my ideas,” de Blasio said.

He, however, was not above playing the attack game himself, taking shots at Quinn, who remains his greatest obstacle in the Sept. 10 primary. De Blasio, who wants to raise taxes on the wealthy, said that “Speaker Quinn would saddle just some middle class families with more debt.”

Earlier, in a sign that the the focus may be shifting away from scandal-ridden Anthony Weiner, who had slid to fourth in the Quinnipiac poll, de Blasio appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I think what matters is we’re actually talking about issues,” de Blasio said. “The sideshow is actually dissipating. We talked about this last time, in the debate last night. We talked about issues, and not just one guy’s personal situation.”

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