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Day After Debate, Lhota Unleashes Attack Ad Targeting de Blasio’s Response To Motorcycle Melee

Ad Suggests de Blasio Policies Would Return NYC To High Crime

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The day after mayoral hopefuls Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota traded shots on issues including affordable housing, income inequality, tax subsidies and rent for charter schools, Lhota has released an ad taking on de Blasio’s response to an attack on an SUV driver by a bunch of bikers.

The spot is called “Can’t Go Back.” After running footage of the motorcycle melee, it segues to images from the 1970s and ’80s, depicting an overturned police car, a man holding a gun and corpses on the ground.

The ad, by far the most negative in an increasingly nasty campaign, comes on the heels of Lhota’s accusations during Tuesday night’s debate that de Blasio is “untested” and unable to continue the city’s historic reduction in crime that began in the 1990s under mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Lhota has frequently criticized de Blasio for wanting to reform the police department’s stop-and-frisk policy, which allows officers to stop anyone deemed acting suspiciously.

“Whether it is attacking Ray Kelly and the NYPD or saying his plans for dealing with violent criminals is to sit down with them and talk, Bill de Blasio’s weak stance on crime will take us back to days New Yorkers don’t want to ever experience again,” said Lhota spokeswoman Jessica Proud. “He has no concept of proactive policing and how critical the NYPD’s policies have been to reducing crime to record lows. His plans handcuff and demoralize our law enforcement and will jeopardize New Yorker’s safety. We can’t allow him to take us backwards.”

De Blasio’s campaign called the ad “divisive.”

“Lhota is right that we can’t go back,” said de Blasio spokesman Dan Levitan. “We shouldn’t return to the days when Republicans like Giuliani used fear tactics to divide New Yorkers against each other.”

Lhota was frequently put on the defensive by de Blasio in their debate Tuesday night.

The Democrat, up nearly 50 points in some polls, surprised observers who expected him to stick with his recent strategy, one typical of front runners, of staying above the fray and avoiding gaffes. Instead, he attacked Lhota and prevented the Republican from delivering the blows his struggling campaign desperately needed.

The candidates are set to face off again Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. in a debate to be broadcast on CBS 2. You’ll also be able to watch the debate in Spanish on WLNY-TV 10-55, or right here online at CBSNewYork.com.

You can add your voice to the conversation by Tweeting your comments with #NYC2013. For complete election coverage, click here.

The election is Nov. 5.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)