Former President Clinton on Wednesday said he fully endorsed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s progressive vision for shared responsibility and prosperity.
Clinton gave brief remarks before swearing in de Blasio as the 109th mayor of the city on a Bible once owned by Franklin Roosevelt.
“Look around,” Clinton said in brief remarks. “We can’t get away from each other. We have to define the terms of our dependence. And this inequality problem bedevils the entire country and, I can tell you from my work, much of the world.”
“It is not just a moral outrage,” Clinton said. “It is a horrible constraint on economic growth and giving people the security we need to tackle problems like climate change. We cannot go forward if we don’t do it together.”
Nonetheless, he commended former Mayor Michael Bloomberg as leaving the city “stronger and healthier” than he found it.
Clinton said it had been a joy for him and his wife, Hillary, to watch de Blasio’s progress from his days in the administration.
De Blasio held a post in the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration. He also managed Hillary Clinton’s first Senate campaign in 2000.
Early in the Democratic primary last year, both Clintons declined to endorse a candidate. During an interview in August, the former president said the couple had too many friends and former supporters in the race.
Shortly after the primary, however, the couple quickly put their weight behind de Blasio, and Hillary Clinton held a fundraiser for the candidate in October. She is seen a likely candidate for president in 2016.
De Blasio thanked Bill Clinton for being a shining light for Democrats in the 1990s.
“And I have to note that over 20 years ago when a conservative philosophy seemed dominant in our nation, you broke through,” he said.
About his time on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, he said: “I was so inspired by the time I spent on your first campaign. Your groundbreaking commitment to nurturing our children and families manifested itself in a phrase that is now part of our American culture ... ‘It takes a village.’ ”
During his speech, De Blasio thanked former Bloomberg for his work on issues including environmental protection and public health. But he made it clear that he would attempt to narrow the economic gap that “threatens to unravel the city we love.”
“Let me be clear,” De Blasio said about his campaign commitment. “When I said I would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it. And we will do it.”
He vowed to reform paid sick leave and the city's stop-and-frisk policy. He also vowed to push a tax increase on the wealthy to fund pre-kindergarten education and after school programs.
The new mayor becomes the first Democrat to hold the office in two decades. In November, he won his post in a landline victory over Joe Lhota with 73 percent of the vote.