NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota has been criticizing Democratic rival Bill de Blasio this week for what he calls de Blasio's post-primary slack.
As WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported, de Blasio has commanded a massive lead in the polls, and Lhota has been criticizing him for cutting back on the number of campaign appearances he has made.
"I've never seen a Rose Garden strategy work," Lhota said. "The last time anybody really deployed a Rose Garden strategy it was 41, the first George Bush, who sat back only to get beat by Bill Clinton."
Lhota added, "Let's make this a real campaign, and talk about our divergent points of view."
Lhota Criticizes De Blasio For Cutting Back On Campaign Appearances
In a statement Tuesday, Lhota said de Blasio "needs to explain himself -- and explain himself now" and doubled down on his accusation that de Blasio is engaging in "class warfare" in his campaign.
"It does concern me because I don't believe his theories are gelled out," he said. "I question anyone here to find a government that has espoused communism and Marxism the way he has supported the Sandinistas."
On Monday, The New York Times published an article detailing de Blasio's activist work in Nicaragua in the 1980s.
He visited the country to help the poor during a civil war and grew to admire the ruling Sandinistas, whom the Reagan administration denounced as tyrannical and communist, the report said.
It also mentioned that the Democratic mayoral nominee and his wife, Chirlane McCray, visited Cuba on their 1994 honeymoon, which violated a U.S. travel ban.
De Blasio tried to make light of the Cuban honeymoon on Tuesday.
"We didn't tell our children a lot of things about our honeymoon," he said.
De Blasio also defended his past support of the Sandinista government Tuesday and said he was "very proud" to be involved in that work.
"I think at that time, United States policy towards Central America was wrong," he told CBS 2's Weijia Jiang. "I think most Americans came to believe it was wrong. I was proud to be an activist working against it."
Lhota also called de Blasio a "democratic socialist," and de Blasio was asked about his use of the term again on Tuesday. It was apparently written in his own handwriting from a retreat at the Nicaragua Solidarity Movement of Greater New York, of which records are kept at NYU in the archives, Kramer reported.
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