Christine Quinn takes ‘personal offense’ to misquoted childcare comments from Bill de Blasio’s wife

Credit: Bess Adler/Metro
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn greets a voter in Coney Island.
Credit: Bess Adler/Metro

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement Wednesday that she was personally offended after an opponent’s wife reportedly said the mayoral candidate wasn’t approachable on childcare issues.

“There are women all across the city who don’t have children for any number of reasons, whether they simply can’t, choose not to or circumstances don’t afford them the possibility,” Quinn said in a statement. “I have taken a number of shots in this race from the men running against me, and I accept that as par for the course in a political campaign. But to criticize me as not understanding what young families go through because I might not have children is over the line, and I take great personal offense to the comment, as does my wife.”

Quinn was responding to comments from Chirlane McCray, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s wife, who was misquoted in a New York Times column after being asked why Quinn doesn’t seem accessible to female voters.

“She’s not the kind of person I feel I can go up to and talk to about issues like taking care of children at a young age and paid sick leave,” McCray said, as originally quoted by Maureen Dowd.

The comments came just days after Quinn’s wife, Kim Catullo, became more visible on the campaign trail despite being notoriously private and shy.

“As young teenage girls, both my wife and I lost our mothers, and the decision to have children is a deep and personal one that we should be afforded the opportunity to make without aspersion,” Quinn’s statement continued.

Her campaign’s spokesman, Mike Morey, said that they stood by the statement, though McCray was misquoted in the Times column.

De Blasio’s campaign manager Bill Hyers shot back that it was wrong for Quinn and her campaign to use a misquote “distort and confuse with baseless attacks.”

In a recording of a section of of McCray and de Blasio’s interview with Dowd, McCray said Quinn wasn’t speaking to the issues she cared about and that she thought other women feel the same way.

“I don’t see her speaking to the concerns of women who have to take care of children at a young age or send them to school and after school, paid sick days, issues in the workplace, she is not speaking to any of those issues,” McCray said.

After being asked a follow-up question, McCray continued that Quinn “is not the kind of person that I feel that you can go up and talk to and have a conversation with about those things, and I suspect that other women feel the same thing I’m feeling.”

A New York Times spokeswoman said that a correction has been issued on the column.

“Maureen Dowd realized she had truncated the quote and immediately asked her editors to fix it,” the spokeswoman said.

In spite of the correction, Quinn’s spokesman Morey said the “essence” of McCray’s comments were the same. Dowd also told Politico that the “substance” of the quote was the same, despite her error.

Attacks between Quinn and de Blasio’s campaigns have gotten more heated after the latest polls had them in the top two spots among likely primary voters.

Earlier Wednesday, Quinn’s campaign launched a Tumblr poking fun at de Blasio’s s0-called “hypocrisy.” For their part, de Blasio’s campaign released an ad targeting Quinn’s support of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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