I’ll confess that I didn’t get to watch the Democrats debate last night and had to catch the blooper reels this morning. (I’m old and these things start too late for me.) But not all of the action was taking place at the lecterns, and some of it wound up generating headlines before anyone was on stage. Perhaps one of the best examples was that of New York City Mayor and (for some reason nobody has been able to explain) presidential candidate Bill de Blasio.
As is traditional with such events, the candidates were all bringing along some surrogates who were willing to endorse them. This is a traditional way to show the sort of support they are generating and attract more followers. When it came to Hizzoner, he had a fairly impressive supporter to show off for the media in the person of Stuart Appelbaum. Mr. Appelbaum is the head of the Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Union, which boasts more than 100,000 members and holds some clout with the Democratic Party. Unfortunately for Mayor Bill, however, there was a fly in the ointment. When questioned by the press, Appelbaum flatly informed them that he wasn’t endorsing de Blasio or anyone else for that matter. (NY Post)
De Blasio’s upstart presidential campaign introduced labor leader Stuart Appelbaum as one of his supporters preceding the first Democratic Presidential Debate in Miami Wednesday night — but Appelbaum said he wasn’t backing Hizzoner.
“I’m not a surrogate for anyone,” the labor leader told reporters gathered for the 2020 Dems’ debate. “I’m here because of my role within the Democratic National Committee.”
Appelbaum — head of the 100,000-member Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Union — was one of two people the mayor’s campaign brought to the press-filing center to talk up de Blasio’s record just two hours before the debate.
Appelbaum did praise the Mayor for some of his work back home in New York City but also went on to express his admiration for other candidates, including Warren, Gillibrand, Sanders and Biden. Man, that’s going to be an awkward flight back from Miami.
As for being on the debate stage, de Blasio clearly knew he wasn’t going to have a lot of time so he took some wild swings as the evening went on. He trotted out his previous line about how there’s plenty of money in the country, but “it’s just in the wrong hands.” When Beto O’Rourke declined to endorse the end of private health insurance, the Mayor interrupted him and talked over him, prompting some groans from the audience. And Hizzoner’s endorsement of Medicare for All led to some back and forth with Cory Booker that was mildly entertaining but didn’t bring anything to the discussion we haven’t heard many times before.
This brief video summary from CBS News includes some of the lowlights of de Blasio’s time on camera and the spats I mentioned above.
It’s hard to see how last night winds up doing very much to lift Bill de Blasio’s fortunes. His message and policies weren’t noticeably different from most of the rest of the field and all he really managed to do was come off as a rude, interrupting bully. He continues to poll at pretty much zero percent across the nation and was among the candidates most in need of a big breakthrough moment. From what I’m seeing on the replays this morning, he didn’t get it. But thanks for playing, Bill.