Tuesday, November 24, 2015

AmNYExpress: Meet the new, improved Bill de Blasio (Monday, November 23rd)

Two years into his mayoralty, Bill de Blasio is making some changes. Meet BDB 2.0 — he's at work, listening and getting ready for re-election.

Halfway there

A politician's time in office is finite, but campaigning could last a lifetime. Maybe Mayor Bill de Blasio is feeling the pinch this fall, as his second year in Gracie Mansion draws to a close. Halfway to the finish line of his first term, how's he doing?
Only OK, according to a recent New York Times/Siena University poll. His overall approval rating is down to 44 percent, from 52 a year ago. He's struggling even more among white voters, only 28 percent of whom approve of the job he's doing, down 10 points over the previous year. The general trend was echoed by other recent polls from Quinnipiac and Marist.
Numbers like these are hardly cause for panic, this far from Election Day 2017. President Barack Obama weathered a similar dip, and ask Mitt Romney how that turned out. Former Mayor Bloomberg too. But just in case, this mayor has begun taking his case directly to the public and adjusting his tune. 

He's taking to the dials

De Blasio, who has fought with the media over availability and on-topic question sessions, appeared last week on on WOR, MSNBC and CNN. On both Nov. 10 and 13 he made seven live appearances, addressing topics like Paris and the Fight for Fifteen.
This has given him a chance to calm the public after the Paris attacks and threats from the so-called Islamic State on New York itself, but also to take some potshots that will endear him to a liberal base — calling New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's stance on Syrian refugees "heartless" and Donald Trump a "blowhard" on WOR, for example (eliciting response tweets like this one, it's a win-win for the mayor).

 

 

He's burying hatchets

Candidate de Blasio made a name for himself beating up former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Today, he has incorporated a Bloomberg proposal to save NYCHA into his affordable housing push. De Blasio was effusive in his praise of the former mayor when the two shared a podium on Friday to celebrate the city's MillionTreesNYC initiative, a Bloomberg administration brainchild.
The mayor declined to endorse his former boss, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for six and a half months. Now he's become a vocal and staunch defender, speaking of her ability as a pragmatic progressive.
On Thursday, he tried his hand at the spin room game after Clinton's foreign policy speech in Manhattan. He was even spotted taking notes while his old boss spoke.
On policing, where social justice activists once applauded him nationally for his comments on police reform, he has since focused his rhetoric to steadfast support of the police in the wake of four NYPD funerals.
More broadly, the mayor has pivoted from his sweeping national progressive campaign to focus on local policies. Last week, he announced a plan to provide 15,000 units of supportive housing for the homeless and he's expected to announce a series of initiatives to deal with mental illness soon.

Plus, he's on time!

The old de Blasio couldn't stay on schedule. He was lambasted for being late to a November memorial service in the Rockaways last year (It started early, he said! There was fog!).
This year he arrived with time to spare.

This is amExpress, the conversation starter for New Yorkers. Subscribe at amny.com/amexpress.

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