NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio is hitting back after challenger Joe Lhota’s controversial new television ad hit airwaves.
The Republican’s ad, called “Can’t Go Back,” features footage of the now-infamous West Side Highway motorcycle melee and then segues to images from the 1970s and 80s. The images depicted include an overturned police car, a man holding a gun and corpses on the ground.
The ad warns that de Blasio has a “recklessly dangerous agenda on crime.”
“As I said, that ad was inappropriate, way over the top. It was fear-mongering. And I just think that’s not leadership,” de Blasio told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb on Thursday.
Watch The Ad:
Two of the photographers, whose images of a riot and a graffiti-covered subway train, said they did not give specific permission for their use in the ad.
“Well, I think it’s obviously not very professional that they didn’t seek the permission of the photographer who took the photos and I think it’s interesting that the photographer said he’s supporting me,” de Blasio said.
The photographer, in fact, told Newsday he is leaning towards de Blasio.
A Lhota spokesperson said the photos were found on Flickr and were tagged as royalty-free. The campaign said the ad agency tried but failed to reach the photographers in question.
Several Democrats have called for Lhota to pull the ad; his campaign has refused.
Lhota on Thursday defended the ad, saying “I don’t think it’s negative at all.”
“I legitimately believe that he will be sending New York back to a period of time that we never need to go back to,” Lhota told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.
The ramped up rhetoric continued Thursday in what’s becoming a more contentious race for mayor.
De Blasio criticized Lhota for campaigning in a Brooklyn synagogue that would not allow women to enter.
Lhota was on a walking tour of the Borough Park neighborhood on Wednesday when he entered the ultra-Orthodox Shomer Shabbos synagogue, followed by an entourage of staffers and media members.
Within moments, a synagogue official asked three women – a reporter, a Lhota campaign aide and a member of the candidate’s security team – to leave but said the men could stay.
The women stepped outside while Lhota remained inside. He emerged from the synagogue a minute later and defended it.
“Throughout the Orthodox world, the Orthodox Jewish world as well as the Orthodox Muslim world, there are certain places that women are not involved in,” he told reporters. “I will not as mayor violate their First Amendment constitutional rights for their religious practices.”
De Blasio, who has a commanding lead in the polls, said Thursday that he believes campaign stops must be held “in a space open to all.”
“I find it perplexing that he would have organized an event in a situation women wouldn’t have access to,” de Blasio said outside a Manhattan rally.
The candidates are set to face off in their second debate to be broadcast on CBS 2 on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. You’ll also be able to watch the debate in Spanish on WLNY-TV 10-55, or right here online at CBSNewYork.com.
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The election is Nov. 5.
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