Mayor Bill de Blasio on his handling of NYC's blackout

The 2020 hopeful discusses how New York City has prepared him to become president.
5:46 | 08/02/19

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Transcript for Mayor Bill de Blasio on his handling of NYC's blackout
You went right after Joe. You attacked Obama. I mean, instead of -- I was not attacking Obama. Let's get real. It's questioning whether those depore takes made sense and asking the Versace to explain his role in it. Do you think these questions aren't going to come up later? Here's what I'm saying as a Democrat. I'm running for president because I believe, look, we've done great things in New York City and I think we can do great things in the country but going through a process to figure out who we are as Democrats. What's our heart and soul? What are we going to stand for. In public. You have to do it in public. I get your point but you know what, if we can have this discussion in our family and, yeah, in this case it's a family discussion that happens to be televised we can figure out who we are as Democrats and go into battle ready to win because what happened in 2016 and we watched it in horror, all those folks who stayed home, you guys talked about it earlier. All those folks who stayed home because they did not believe the democratic party was on their side, working class people who felt the Democrats were the party of the elite didn't understand their lives wouldn't rock the status quo. I was challenging Biden because I wanted to hear him say here's what I did, here's what I stand for because whoever is going to be the democratic nominee has to be able to -- Donald Trump is smart. I don't agree with a thing he says, he's smart, tough and I say this -- You think he's smart. Strategically, no, wait, strategically, yes. Seems very impulsive. I don't know he has strategy. Or crazy like a fox. Crazy like a fox. He has instinct. He has his finger on the pulse. Oh, god. I got to be honest about this -- Unfortunately has his finger on the nuclear button. That's a scary thought. If Democrats will beat him it's because you're in touch with what middle class people are going through. What I hear every day all the states I go to, folks don't think the status quo is working for them and think the country at this point is just serving the top 1% and not everyday people. Democrats better be able to show that and I always say this, I say we have to be blunt about the reality of the money in this world. There's plenty of money in this world. There's plenty of money in this country. It's just in the wrong hands. Should be in the hands of working people and middle class people. Right. That's what we need -- We heard that yesterday from Tom Steyer. Seem to be a motive. He created universal pre-k and reduced stop and frisk policing, thank you. You oversaw the city's 15 minimum wage hike. They're all terrific accomplish manies in my opinion. They should be lauded not only by new yorkers but across the country and duplicated also in my view. But your approval rating in new York is only 42% and I don't understand that. Why do you think that is. I represent 8.6 million highly opinionated people. Let's face it. New yorkers and it's probably a great thing to represent a place that puts you through your paces every single day. But you're right about those facts. We've driven undown crime six years in a row, 500,000 more jobs since I became mayor. We're the most diverse place on Earth and doing a pretty good job of getting along and being respectful. I think we get along really well in New York. I walk the streets of New York City every day, every color is represented. Every religion, every different outfits and sexualities. This city is run beautifully in that sense. I must give it either to you or to us who live here. All of the above. Yes. It's true. Isn't it? There is nobody -- Crime rate is down. But that's taken real work. We worked hard, sunny mentioned stop and frisk. That was a policy that was really tearing police and community apart creating tension and division. Grandparent, parents who brought up their children then saw their children stopped by police officers for no apparent reason. Affected disproportion fwhally black and brown -- A lot of naysayers said the city will go into chaos and go to hell. What happened was the opposite? We got safer because we brought police and community together. We started dialogues and seeing the tensions reduce all the time because people are talking to each other. One thing we're doing with neighborhood policing is we're encouraging officers to get to know the folks they serve on a first name basis and vice versa. Good. And to say thank you to each other and support each other and it's made us safer. So for all those years we were told the way to be tough on crime was to be punitive but one other fact we last year in new York City, there were 150,000 fewer arrests than five years earlier and we got safer. That's good. We got safer. Well, I mean, okay, but you are heavily criticized for campaigning in Iowa during the blackout in New York City. That impacted where I live. It impacted the service people who work there. Stayed up to 4:00 in the morning getting the air conditioner back on and a group of new yorkers took a series of billboards in Iowa saying new yorkers need your attention. How will ignoring your city in the middle of a historical blackout to campaign to basically no one in Iowa change that. Respectfully, it's the first blackout in 13 years. It was not something we ever was told was coming. I was in Iowa at a series of events and late on a Saturday night suddenly we're doing with a blackout. I immediately got on the tone to my team and made sure everyone was positioned and first responders did an amazing job and went on for five hours, not a single person got injured and proved how prepared New York City is. The way you made it sound it was a scheduled blackout and I decided to go someplace else. That's not how it happens.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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