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De Blasio On Government Shutdown: Lhota Can't Be 'Republican Bystander'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Republican mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota has tried to distance himself from the chaos in Washington, but that hasn't stopped Bill de Blasio, his Democratic rival, from attacking the former deputy mayor over the federal government shutdown.

"You can't be a Republican bystander," de Blasio told WCBS 880's Alex Silverman. "You can't say, 'I'm an innocent liberal Republican, and all those other things happened.' Too bad. If you're a member of the Republican Party, you're buying into the whole idea."

Lhota has said House Republicans are wrong for forcing the shutdown in an attempt to delay President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. He has called them "extremists" and accused them of holding "the government and the people of this country hostage."

De Blasio on Government Shutdown: Lhota Can't Be 'Republican Bystander'

De Blasio's campaign team sent out an email comparing Lhota to former President George W. Bush and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Romney "made it very clear how much he wanted the support of conservative Republicans and bent over backwards to achieve that support," de Blasio said. "And I think Mr. Lhota did a similar thing when he met with the Tea Party in Staten Island a few months ago."

Lhota said Monday he has consistently disagreed with the Tea Party.

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