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New York Mayor Bill De Blasio Shrugs Off Late-Night TV Jeers, Touts 2020 City-Toughness

Dade Hayes

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who last week became the 23rd Democrat to announce a bid for the 2020 presidential nomination, is shrugging off the jeers of late-night TV comedians and the city tabloids.

In an appearance Tuesday morning on CNN’s New Day (watch it above and below), the candidate was shown in split screen reacting to clips of Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert riffing on his hat being thrown into the ring. Fallon labeled the campaign a “comedy,” while Colbert called the lanky de Blasio “Frankenstein’s monster’s lawyer” who “pushed his way into the clown car.” The candidate broke into a broad smile at the Colbert dis.

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“That’s what they do for a living,” he reasoned. “It’s normal.” He went on to describe the treatment from Fox News, the New York Post and late-night hosts as “a walk in the park” given his day job. As mayor of “the largest, toughest city in America” for the past six years, he said, “I deal with tough issues every single day. … Late-night comics don’t bother me.”

De Blasio said his Gotham street cred gives him the best shot of anyone in the crowded field to take down President Donald Trump. The president, he added, is “another New Yorker who doesn’t play fair, who likes to get really low with people. But if you’re not tough enough to fight back, you’re not going to win.”

From the start of his campaign, the mayor has deployed a peculiar smear in his attacks on the president, calling Trump “Con Don” — perhaps a pre-emptive strike given Trump’s penchant for nicknames. But even left-wing partisans so far have scoffed at the coinage, and the candidacy largely has been met with apathy in the mayor’s home city. Asked on New Day about his lackluster poll numbers, de Blasio said he frequently started races as the underdog and eventually won, noting his undefeated mark in career elections.

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The interview touched briefly on policy matters and offered de Blasio a chance to rebut the notion that he entered the race after seeing Pete Buttiegieg, also a mayor but of a much smaller city (South Bend, IN), get traction among the field.

For those who tuned in only via social media, the segment got attention for de Blasio proclaiming his love of ska music (as well as reggae and the Clash). Alisyn Camerota, co-host of the show, concluded the interview by exchanging high-fives with the mayor and memorably confessing that “there’s a whole hidden ska happening inside of me.”

Here is the full segment:

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