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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking heat for being missing in action, out of town on the presidential campaign trail, when the blackout happened.
De Blasio is trying to shrug it off, but many New Yorkers are not ready to let him off the hook.
You could call him Napoleon Bonaparte de Blasio, reported CBS2’s Marcia Kramer, because – ironically – the mayor was in Waterloo, Iowa when the blackout hit.
Web Extra: Mayor Bill De Blasio Discusses Manhattan Blackout
Waterloo, named for the battle that thwarted Napoleon’s dreams of European domination, could thwart de Blasio’s dreams of another type of domination: The 2020 race for the White House.
“He should have just jumped in a chartered plane. One his rich friends, which he doesn’t have, should have just flown him back and let him command the city,” said Upper West Side resident Fred Gurner. “It wasn’t an emergency over there. What was he, picking potatoes?”
“Absolutely he should be here, but, you know, it just happened to be a blackout. But the issue is he’s out of town of every weekend,” said Harlem resident Delores Palmm.
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“He couldn’t have been here in advance, but he could have gotten home sooner, I suppose. But aptly named, Waterloo, Iowa,” another person said.
De Blasio was blasted on the front pages of the city’s tabloids and in other publications.
He blamed his late return to the city on “the availability of planes.”
“We drove four hours from Waterloo, Iowa to Chicago,” de Blasio said. “There wasn’t a plane until the next morning.”
The mayor with the tin ear. He insists on driving 13 miles from Gracie Mansion to exercise in Park Slope despite announcing a “Green New Deal” to cut carbon emissions. De Blasio insists he should be judge not by one missing-in-action occurrence but on his record.
“Let’s grade the whole picture,” de Blasio said. “When you’re chief executive, you have to look at the whole picture.”
While de Blasio can justly brag about initiating pre-k and three-k programs, there’s also his failure to deal with the homeless, and lingering questions about then-NYCHA chair Shola Olatoye lying about lead paint that could poison kids, wife Chirlane McCray‘s THRIVE mental health initiative and so on.
“If I had the record that he does, I wouldn’t be saying something like that,” said Upper West Side resident John Rich. “I don’t think he works very hard.”
“If you judged him by his record, what grade would you give him?” Kramer asked.
“Probably a D,” said Gurner.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also had advice for his frenemy: You’ve got to be here.
“New Yorkers want to know that the person they are paying to be in charge is in charge,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo also pointed out that when he ran for governor, he pledged not to run for president, a promise he kept.
The mayor brushed off the governor’s criticism, saying despite differences, they always find a way to work together to get things done.