By LAUREN KEATING
As the federal government came to a screeching halt Tuesday, the New York City mayoral candidates continued to race full-steam ahead in a war of words.
In Midtown, Republican nominee Joseph Lhota publically cut ties to the Tea Party and deplored what he viewed as extremists in his own party holding the country hostage. “What they are doing is outrageously wrong,” he said of the conservative firebrands in the House of Representatives and their allies.
“Not all Republicans believe what’s going on is the right thing to do,” he said of the shutdown. “The government of the United States of America needs to be able to continue to work and move forward.”
Though sidetracked by the shutdown in Washington, Lhota had much to say regarding his Democratic opponent Bill de Blasio.
De Blasio had been in the hot seat after a New York Times article highlighted his support of the Nicaraguan Sadinista rebels in his college years for which he was branded a “democratic socialist”.
In response, front-runner de Blasio criticized his Republican rival for praising former Senator Barry Goldwater. Lhota, in a separate New York Times article, had been cited praising Goldwater as his “boyhood hero.”
Goldwater, the “father of Conservative ‘Extremism,’” voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and supported the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam.
“If Bill wants to run this race through character assassination, it makes me even more confident I’m going to win,” Lhota said.
Lhota said that the New York Times had forgotten to include the things about which he “vehemently disagreed” with Goldwater. such as civil rights. “Goldwater was dead wrong for voting against that,” said the former MTA chairman. He was dead wrong on many of his issues regarding race.”
The de Blasio campaign highlighted Lhota’s connection with the Tea Party by launching a Tumblr page titled, “Goldwater+Tea Party+Giuliani = Lhota.” The blog quotes Lhota telling the Tea Party in Staten Island that they held similar philosophical beliefs.
Lhota said morning he had not seen the Tumblr report.
“I think Bill’s personal philosophy and mine are very, very different,” he said. “The idea that you want to tie me and make that algebraic equation, actually addition- it’s equal to me- is really sad.”
De Blasio’s cyber attack on Lhota comes after de Blasio beat the New York Post to the punch on Monday, revelaing his estranged father’s suicide before the tabloid reported it. “While this has been a private part of my family’s life, it is now clear a media story will soon emerge,” de Blasio said. “My father tragically ended his life while battling terminal cancer in 1979.”
On Monday, the New York Police Chief’s Benevolent Association (CBA) endorsed de Blasio, praising him for his dedication to public safety.”I look forward to working with Bill on his efforts to keep the city safe and bring police and the community together for truly effective law enforcement,” said CBA President Chief Eugene Tumolo.