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'Pharaoh' Grenade Lobbed At Mayor Bloomberg Sets Speaker Quinn Off

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Political jaws dropped Monday when New York City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn angrily stalked out of a rally after someone criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Speaker Quinn must really want Bloomberg to endorse her as his successor. She lost her cool big time at a rally on the controversial living wage bill, all because someone called hizzoner a pharaoh -- as in King Tut and the ancient rulers of Egypt.

WCBS 880's Rich Lamb Reports


"Pharaoh Bloomberg," came a voice from the crowd.

"That's not appropriate," Quinn said in response. "You stand here talking about a democracy and wanting people to listen. In a democracy people have the right to have different views and they do not. We do not then have the right to call them names."

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It was one word, one time, and pharaoh certainly isn't the worst thing people have called Mayor Bloomberg.

The next speaker, Rev. Michael Waldron, heaped scorn on her actions.

"If you could be so thin-skinned that one person can dismay and dissolve your agenda of justice, something is wrong," he told reporters, including WCBS 880's Rich Lamb.

However, others at the rally defended Quinn's right to be offended.

Quinn must have been jittery about crossing the mayor and supporting a bill raising wages for workers on projects like Coney Island and Yankee Stadium that get city money. Bloomberg has vehemently vowed to veto the bill as anti business.

"Those bills are a throw back to an era when government viewed the private sector as a cash cow to be milked," Bloomberg said last week.

Quinn kept lecturing and lecturing the person who uttered the criticism.

"So whoever said that I ask that you apologize," the speaker said.

Then she stalked off.

"I'm not going to participate in name-calling. Excuse me," Quinn said.

Her actions stunned the crowd. Some shook their heads. The president of the Retail Workers Union tried to defend her.

"I just want to point out to everyone that we would not have been here today celebrating the living wage bill if it were not for the leadership of the Speaker of the City Council, Chris Quinn," Stuart Appelbaum said.

Afterwards Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, another mayoral hopeful, said that by New York standards, calling Bloomberg "pharaoh" was not offensive at all. He said a lot of people have said that "this is an imperial mayoralty."

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