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Maloney: de Blasio "Should Have Head Examined" After Withholding Clinton Endorsement

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney
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Several important New York politicians lined up behind Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in the minutes after she entered the race Sunday. Speaking with WAMC’s Alan Chartock on Tuesday, Hudson Valley Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney officially endorsed the former New York U.S. Senator and Secretary of State. He also criticized the man who helmed Clinton’s successful 2000 Senate race — now-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"We need an economy that’s generating wealth again, for people who are working hard, and that’s what Hilary Clinton is talking about this week and I’m very proud to see it," Maloney says.

Have you formally endorsed her?

"Well, you can consider this a formal endorsement right now, Alan—a world-wide exclusive on your show."

We made the news. OK, that’s great.

"In the category of: not surprising. For people who may not understand, I started working for the Clintons 20 years ago. I worked on the campaign in 1992. I worked on the White House senior staff. So, I am very much a fan of the America that they built in the 1990s that was inclusive, where we had a growing economy, we were paying down our debt, we balanced the budget the right way, where we were at peace and engaged with the world. We need to have policies to grow this economy again for middle class families, for people who are working hard, and who are trying to figure out how to pay for college, trying to plan a retirement that they can actually enjoy, trying to pay their property taxes, and make ends meet. That’s the bottom line. And I think that there was a good model we had in the 90s and we can bring that into the future."

Ok so, this of course is, we always have a good time, right Sean? When we talk to each other?

"Yes we do."

But however, now it gets a little tougher. You just said, and quite rightly, that, you know, you worked for them, you have a loyalty to them, and “you can consider this an endorsement.” However, dark music, Bill de Blasio, who also fit those very categories, did not endorse them, what do you make of that?

"Well, I think Bill de Blasio should have his head examined. I don’t understand why my friend Bill de Blasio would have any reservations about a person he worked for, about a champion for New York, about someone who is going to do more for hard working families in the Hudson Valley than anybody else who is running. I just couldn’t disagree with him more. I think this is a person who has her headquarters in New York, who is always going to have New York front of mind when she’s in the Oval Office.  I think we ought to get behind her, and I think we can have all the conversations we want about what she ought to emphasize. There’s going to be positions that, you know, I want her to push up and others I want her to push down and all that kind of stuff, that’s fine, that’s normal. But let’s be clear what the alternative is. The alternative is the team that wants to go after Medicare, and go after Social Security, that wants to give huge tax cuts to multimillionaires through some trickle-down theory that has never worked.  We need to grow the economy and bring everybody along. That’s what I want to do.

So should you pick up the phone and call him and say, “Hey, Bill, get on the team?”

"I think he heard it from pretty much everybody, and their brother, that maybe he ought to clarify his comments a little bit."

Ok, now that brings us to the next person who you might see as an offender, and that is the president himself, who has sent somebody out front to say, you know, he’s not making a formal endorsement because there are other people who may want to declare. What do you think of that?

"Oh look, you know, I don’t make too much of that. I think it wouldn’t be unusual for a president to try to stay out of the political day-to-day. I think it’s pretty clear what he said — that he has enormous respect for Secretary Clinton, that they work closely together, they are friends. And there are going to be differences. God knows I have my differences with this president and I think you’re going to see differences in the Clinton approach than in the Obama approach. I’m looking forward to that, frankly. I prefer the Clinton approach, to be very candid with you. I think we need to grow this economy more rapidly, we need to bring everybody along, and we need to stop this gridlock and this fighting in Washington and get to work."

Dr. Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the University at Albany. He hosts the weekly Capitol Connection series, heard on public radio stations around New York. The program, for almost 12 years, highlighted interviews with Governor Mario Cuomo and now continues with conversations with state political leaders. Dr. Chartock also appears each week on The Media Project and The Roundtable and offers commentary on Morning Edition, weekdays at 7:40 a.m.
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