Quinn sets an etiquette precedent, but did she mean to?

Briefing: Quinn (Bryan Smith via Daily News)
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City Council Christine Quinn established a new precedent today when she explained why she walked away from a press conference where a man had referred to the mayor as "Pharaoh Bloomberg."

"If we're gonna have name-calling, I just don't want to participate in that," Quinn said.

Laura Nahmias notes that leaving events when insults are hurled is a new practice for Quinn. It's not the first  time she's been present when people have said mean things about Bloomberg, just as she's been present when Bloomberg has said mean things about other people.

It's not perfectly clear what Quinn was trying to do today, actually. 

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At that press conference (watch the Politicker video here), it looked as if she sensed an opportunity for a teachable moment about civility, but then got some wires crossed while trying to ad-lib, flubbing her admonishment and then putting herself in the ridiculous position of waiting for an apology from a grown man, before finally ending the agonizingly awkward confrontation by walking away from it.

Quinn is theoretically in a position to make an issue of rhetorical boundaries, as the only woman in the race, and, related, as the target of a particularly ugly bit of incivility in the last cycle. In 2009, a man attending an event for Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson referred to Quinn as a "whore."

Thompson, according to an audio tape of the event, did not audibly object.

Quotes

"If we're gonna have name-calling, I just don't want to participate in that," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. [Dana Rubinstein]

"Those type of events are considered off-line," said David Paterson of the White House Correspondents Dinner and the Legislative Correspondents Association show. [WOR710]

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Pharaoh Bloomberg

Descriptions of Quinn's response to the "Pharaoh Bloomberg" comment: "stormed out" and "tantrum."[Joanna Molloy]

"She walked like an Egyptian." [Jill Colvin and Patrick Hedlund]

RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum defended Quinn. [Hunter Walker]

Here's a photograph of Christine Quinn walking into City Hall after someone yelled out an insult about the mayor. [Celeste Katz]

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