In what's becoming a tradition of the 2013 mayor's race in New York, frontrunner Bll de Blasio was the primary target of all the other candidates at Wednesday's debate. So it was inevitable that someone was going to ask de Blasio about his wife Chirlane McCray's comments to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. Those comments, about the openly gay candidate's stances on child care, and paid sick days, seemed to question Quinn's accessibility as a woman.
As you may have heard, Dowd had to correct her column today after the de Blasio campaign demonstrated that the journalist misquoted McCray's remarks about Quinn. So here they are in full, from the current version of the piece:
Well, I am a woman, and she is not speaking to the issues I care about and I think a lot of 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, workplace, she is not speaking to any of those issues. What can I say?
And she is not accessible, she is not the kind of person who you can talk to and go up to and have a conversation with about those things, and I suspect that other women feel the same thing I’m feeling.
At the Wednesday mayoral debate, de Blasio was asked about those remarks. The candidate focused on Dowd's correction, noted that the remarks in question were a "misquote," adding, "my wife meant no offense." Earlier Wednesday, Quinn's campaign had responded with outrage to what it read as an insinuation that Quinn's lack of children (and, the fact that she is in a same-sex marriage) somehow rendered her unable to relate to families.
But Quinn doesn't think that either version of McCray's remarks, original or corrected, are inoffensive. "I gotta say, I found very hurtful and upsetting," Quinn said, launching into a response that indicates the candidate was ready for an opportunity to address McCray's statements. The full quote, she said, still "raise[s] the question" about whether the fact that she doesn't have children affects how hard she fights for families. "There are many reasons why some families have children and some don't... my wife and I both lost our mothers when we were young girls," she added, noting that the decision to have children is "deeply personal" both of them. Her comments at the debate echoed her response to Dowd's column in a Wednesday statement:
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 ... 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.