NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio chimed in Monday about a controversial remark made by Rep. Charles Rangel during a congressional debate, telling the candidates to stick to the issues.

During Friday night’s debate, Rangel, who is seeking a 23rd term, questioned Democratic opponent Adriano Espaillat‘s record, saying, “What the heck has he done, besides saying he’s a Dominican?”

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The comment has reportedly infuriated Hispanic political leaders.

“There’s no place in this discussion for questions of race or nationality,” de Blasio told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb, in Harlem on Monday.

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“I certainly have heard from Congressman Rangel that he is very mindful of being cautious with word choice going forward, and I respect that. But I would say to all the candidates involved, let’s get back to the issues. I don’t think the people will smile on any discussion of anything but the issues.”

De Blasio added that he will not endorse any candidate for the 13th Congressional District seat during the primary, but he will support the Democrat in the general election.

“I think there’s times, especially in the context of a Democratic primary, where you say it’s not a particularly appropriate place to get involved for a variety of reasons,” de Blasio said.

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