Hillary Clinton Talked About de Blasio’s Signature Issues 'Years' Before Him, Says Neera Tanden

Tanden was deputy campaign manager for Hillary Clinton in 2000

ByBENJAMIN BELL
June 13, 2015, 2:21 PM
PHOTO: Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a speech at Texas Southern University in Houston, June 4, 2015.
Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a speech at Texas Southern University in Houston, June 4, 2015.
Pat Sullivan/AP Photo

— -- Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress who is informally advising Hillary Clinton on policy, told ABC News she hoped New York Mayor Bill de Blasio -- with whom she served on the former secretary of state's 2000 campaign for Senate -- would eventually endorse their former boss, adding that Clinton had highlighted de Blasio's "signature" issues years before he had himself.

De Blasio has said he wants to hear more specifics from Clinton before making a decision.

Read more from our conversation with Tanden below.

1] The number of people, according to a recent ABC News-Washington Post poll, who see Hillary Clinton as trustworthy has dropped in recent months. Does this alarm you? And you are informally advising Clinton, so if it is a problem, what is your advice for her?

NT: No. Being involved in the political process these days creates some degree of tarnish on a candidate's character attributes. But in terms of animating voting intentions, I think the most important question is who do you trust to fight for you? To get the job done for you? To improve things for you? And through the course of this campaign, that question will have a clear answer for voters and it will be Hillary.

2] Let's talk about New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who ran Hillary Clinton's first campaign for the Senate. You were Clinton's deputy campaign manager at that time, so you must have worked with both closely, yes? Do you find it odd that he has not endorsed her?

NT: Yes, I worked closely with Bill de Blasio when he was campaign manager and I was deputy campaign manager. My own view is that this is a timing issue. On issues like rising income inequality and policies like universal pre-k, signature issues for Bill de Blasio, Hillary was talking about them years ahead of Bill. In her presidential campaign in 2007 she raised concerns about rising economic inequality and she proposed way back then universal pre-k. Her calls for universal voting, criminal justice reform and strong, comprehensive immigration reform are ones that resonate with the broad public, but particularly with progressives. So I very much hope Mayor de Blasio will endorse Hillary once she's laid out her agenda.

3] Should Hillary Clinton make herself more available to the press? Is she taking enough questions?

NT: It's a long campaign, we still have 500 days and I expect folks will have heard plenty from her in interviews as well as direct speeches by the end of it.

4] Gov. Martin O'Malley has said that the presidency is "not some crown to be passed between two families." Do you agree?

NT: One could have said that about the Roosevelts, but I happen to think Franklin Roosevelt was one of our country's greatest presidents. It would have been a pity if calls like that in 1932 kept him from the White House.

5] All right, putting you on the spot here. Who do you think are the three most likely vice presidential Democratic nominees?

NT: Well, putting me aside, it's hard to pick only three. Just kidding. I will leave that to others as I think it's bad luck to think beyond the primary.

Neera Tanden will appear on "This Week" tomorrow.

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