Even though he helped her become a senator, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on NBC’s "Meet the Press" that he is not endorsing Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign yet.
"Not until I see — and again, I would say this about any candidate — until I see an actual vision of where they want to go,” de Blasio said Sunday about the possibility of endorsing Clinton. “I think she’s a tremendous public servant. I think she is one of the most qualified people to ever run for this office. And by the way, thoroughly vetted, we can say that. But we need to see the substance.”
Reports indicate the former Secretary of State and first lady will announce sometime this afternoon via social media. Clinton’s campaign will officially be called “Hillary for America,” borrowing the influence of President Barack Obama’s two successful campaigns for high office.
De Blasio, a Democrat who won election as New York’s mayor in 2013, was the campaign manager for Clinton’s first victorious U.S. Senate run in 2000. He said much of what worked in 2000 will need to be repeated in 2016.
“One of the important points was she did go out and listened to what was happening to everyday people. And I think that’s going to be more necessary this year than ever before, because people in this country are hurting,” de Blasio told Chuck Todd. “The Great Recession set people back on their heels in a way we have not seen in decades and decades. I think it’s important for Hillary to hear those stories of the American people. I think it will make her a stronger candidate.”
Some Democrats are concerned about Clinton’s campaign message — the reason why she wants to be president — and De Blasio said she needs to define that message as soon as possible.
"I think the reality here is there’s a tremendous opportunity for her to present a vision because of how different the circumstances are today, than when she was last a candidate," he said. "2008 was a very different time."
Clinton and other Democrats vying for the party’s presidential nomination have an opportunity to present a new vision on income inequality, de Blasio said. The mayor and other progressive leaders met last week to develop a so-called progressive “Contract with America” — similar to the 1994 version Newt Gingrich and Republicans developed – that will be offered next month. He argued that Democratic voters didn’t cast ballots in the 2014 midterms because they heard nothing meaningful from the party’s candidates. Now, he said, Americans are demanding their candidates to come up with a plan to address income inequality.
“[A plan] has to include progressive taxation. It has to include increases in wages and benefits. It has to include the willingness to tax the wealthy so we can invest infrastructure, so we can invest in education again,” de Blasio said. “That’s what I think progressives and everyday Americans will be looking for from Hillary and all other candidates.”