De Blasio Defends National Political Efforts In Wide-Ranging Interview, Compares Himself To Gandhi

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio compared himself to Mahatma Gandhi a wide-ranging interview with Politico when asked about why his progressive agenda has not taken hold nationally.

The article by Edward-Isaac Dovere — accompanied by an audio interview — was titled, “What’s Bill de Blasio’s Problem,” and posed the question: “Democratic insiders can’t stand the progressive New York mayor and want him to pipe down, despite his record of real accomplishment back home. What gives?”

The article noted that de Blasio has been criticize even by allies for taking his political message national – even though he was reelected with 66 percent of the vote in November and succeeded on securing universal pre-kindergarten, expanding affordable housing, and other achievements in his first term.

Dovere asked de Blasio about the “fizzling” of his progressive agenda.

“Give me a break. So every time someone tries something and it doesn’t work, it invalidates anything else they might do going forward?” de Blasio said. “Well tell Thomas Edison that, and Henry Ford, and you know tell Mahatma Gandhi. How many people fell on their faces along the way trying things, experimenting with things, had setbacks? There’s no leader who hasn’t had setbacks.”

De Blasio did then make it clear that as he put it, he is a “speck on the universe” compared to those men.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, de Blasio said he had the answer for a Hillary Clinton presidential victory, but nobody would listen.

“I was telling them that they needed to have a clear progressive populist message and they have to believe it, and if they had they would have won,” de Blasio said. “I stand by it.”

De Blasio was also asked why former Mayor Michael Bloomberg gets praise for his achievements, but that de Blasio does not nearly get as much.

“American culture deifies the wealthy, and he was one of the richest people in the world,” de Blasio said. “I think that’s one part of it.”

The mayor also had strong words for President Donald Trump when he was asked about him.

When asked: “Is democracy being undermined right now? Do we have a crooked president right now?” de Blasio said: “Of course, Of course to both.”

Concerning his sometimes tense relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, de Blasio said it is not really about personality, but mostly ideology.

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