Quinn can’t attend an anti-Bloomberg rally because she’ll be with Bloomberg

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City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she won't be at a rally on the City Hall steps this afternoon to criticize Mayor Bloomberg for comparing the United Federation of Teachers to the National Rifle Association, because she'll be inside with the mayor.

Quinn spoke out against Bloomberg's comparison this weekend, and said this morning that she had signed onto a letter denouncing the mayor's comments. But Quinn said she "unfortunately cannot attend" the 2 p.m. event, because she had agreed to attend a "preexisting, pre-scheduled" bill-signing ceremony.

"I couldn't disagree more strongly with the mayor," she said at a press conference in Midtown, when I asked her about the remarks. "It should not in any way, shape or form be part of this important and complicated debate about teacher evaluations."

When I asked if there was any progress on those negotiations between City Hall and the teachers union, Quinn said she was unsure. "But I think, obviously, this was not helpful," she said.

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UPDATE: During the event, Quinn released this statement:

"The Mayor's comparison of the teachers union to the NRA was wrong and I strongly disagree with his comments. This ill-conceived comparison has no place in the important, substantive, and complex debate on teacher evaluations. In order to fix our schools and really improve education for 1.1 million students, we need to lower the rhetoric, stop pointing fingers and focus on getting results for our kids.”