NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – There’s one less Democrat on the hunt for 2020 for support.
He vowed not to be a lame duck in the time remaining his term.
New Yorkers have their own ideas about what he should focus on.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer sat down with the mayor.
Full Interview: Mayor Bill De Blasio On Ending His 2020 Presidential Run
“Practically, I looked at the numbers, I looked at the deadlines for the next debate, and I just didn’t feel it was coming together, and it was time to move on,” de Blasio said.
“Is there something you would like to say to New Yorkers about the fact that you’re back?” Kramer asked.
“I would say I never left,” de Blasio said.
Watch: De Blasio Answers Questions After Dropping Out Of Presidential Primary
Kramer’s not sure all New Yorkers would agree with the mayor. After all, he was campaigning for president last July, when 73,000 Manhattan residents were left without power. And some would say you’ve been a bit distracted since before your presidential listening tour last winter.
But now that de Blasio 2020 is kaput, his honor told Kramer it’s full speed ahead, and being mayor is all that matters.
“I have a very clear vision, and I’m going to fight for my vision,” de Blasio said. “It’s going to be a very aggressive next two years, three months and 11 days, because we’ve got a lot to do. We’ve got to take 3k and make it as universal as possible. We’ve got to take the universal health care plan and really build it out. I want to pass the legislation guaranteeing paid vacation for all.”
Web Extra: Political Reporter Marcia Kramer Reacts To De Blasio’s Decision
Lofty goals, for sure. But New Yorkers’ concerns are far more basic.
“Homeless, and all the littering, and crime,” said Melvin Scott.
“Transportation and the trains,” said Iris de Jesus Perry.
“What about affordable housing. All I see are luxury buildings being put up,” said Betty Samuels.
Others told Kramer they were concerned about rats and the subways. That wasn’t all.
“Getting people more jobs around here,” said Eddie Doran.
President Donald Trump greeted the mayor’s decision to quit the race with a tweet.
Oh no, really big political news, perhaps the biggest story in years! Part time Mayor of New York City, @BilldeBlasio, who was polling at a solid ZERO but had tremendous room for growth, has shocking dropped out of the Presidential race. NYC is devastated, he’s coming home!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2019
“Oh no, really big political news, perhaps the biggest story in years! Part time Mayor of New York City, @BilldeBlasio, who was polling at a solid ZERO but had tremendous room for growth, has shocking dropped out of the Presidential race. NYC is devastated, he’s coming home!” Trump tweeted.
“It gets at another issue. Do you think that running for president broke down the bonds that you had with New Yorkers, and do you have to spend some time repairing that?” Kramer asked.
“Look, there’s what you see, you see, and what the media presents. I’ve heard something very different from everyday New Yorkers,” de Blasio said.
The mayor offered a number of reasons for why his campaign never took off
“Everything’s interconnected. I think if you start early, you get more attention, you get more resources. But there was not a way to start earlier, given my responsibilities,” he said.
“It defines bittersweet, Marcia,” de Blasio said. “I’m sad, but I’m still at peace… it’s not what I hoped for but I’m OK with it.”
The mayro refused to say whether he would endorse anyone, and said the Democrats would be making a big mistake if they pick a moderate. He took some veild shot at frontrunner Joe Biden.
For his part, Biden graciously thanked de Blasio “for running a campaign focused on lifting up working families.”
New York City’s Police Benevolent Association also put out a statement titled “NYC Doesn’t Need Lame Duck De Blasio.”
“This campaign proved that it really doesn’t matter whether Mayor Bill de Blasio is speaking to empty rooms in Iowa or spinning his wheels in a Park Slope gym. What matters to New Yorkers is that he isn’t doing his job,” the statement read.
“Our city is facing real issues that Mayor de Blasio has either ignored or papered over with campaign slogans. Cherry-picking crime stats has done nothing to address the alarming increase in shootings or the growing disorder New Yorkers see on the street. Shouting ‘Working People First’ has done nothing to help city workers suffering through health benefit cuts and below-inflation raises.”
“The only thing Mayor de Blasio’s presidential campaign accomplished was the alienation of hard-working New Yorkers and the deepening of serious divisions in our city, especially between his administration and New York City police officers. He has squandered his credibility and lost the confidence of even his former supporters. He needs to either step aside or be removed to make way for a Mayor who actually wants the job.”
De Blasio struggled to achieve the breakout moment he needed to stand out in the crowded Democratic field. After a strong performance in the first round of debates in June he flubbed a campaign appearance in Miami by quoting Che Guevara. De Blasio said he did not know that the slogan “Hasta la victoria siempre!” was associated with Guevara, a leader of the Cuban Revolution who is reviled by much of Miami’s Cuban population.
De Blasio boasted of his administration’s record on police reform but was followed around on the campaign trail both by protesters from the city’s largest police union and by hecklers demanding that he fire the officers involved in the 2014 death of Eric Garner on Staten Island.
The protests did not end after the Aug. 19 firing of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who placed Garner in the chokehold that contributed to his death. An activist attending de Blasio’s Aug. 25 CNN town hall shouted, “What about Lieutenant Bannon? What about Officer Ramos? … What about other officers?” referring to officers who were also present during Garner’s arrest.
The mayor had announced his presidential run by heading to the Statue of Liberty, where he said the country is in an “identity crisis” around immigration, which he called “the founding and unifying element of the American experience.”
“We are figuring out who we are,” he said then. “There are American values we need to return to and fight for in order to achieve our greatest potential.”
On his campaign’s first day, he dived into an insult match with Trump.
“He’s a con artist. I know his tricks. I know his playbook,” the mayor said.
Trump tweeted at the time that de Blasio was “considered the worst mayor in the U.S.”
The Republican president said, “He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he’s your man. NYC HATES HIM!”
When de Blasio took office in 2014, he seemed briefly poised to become a leading voice for an emerging left wing of the Democratic Party. His central message was fighting income inequality, a theme he hit in the video announcing his presidential candidacy.
“There’s plenty of money in this world. There’s plenty of money in this country. It’s just in the wrong hands,” he said.
But liberals’ enthusiasm for de Blasio faded during his first term as mayor, partly because of political missteps at home and the emergence of bigger names elsewhere.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)