‘I would have kicked his ass’: Chris Quinn on running against Rudy

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If Christine Quinn had run against Rudy Giuliani in 1992, she would have "kicked his ass," she said (to laughter) at a panel discussion in Manhattan last night.

Quinn appeared alongside New York Times columnist Frank Bruni and "Will and Grace" producer Max Mutchnick at a Forum on Law, Culture & Society at Fordham Law School Fordham University discussion about same-sex marriage and gay rights. It was moderated by Thane Rosenbaum, a law professor and author, who noted that cultural norms on social issues like gay marriage and marijuana use have changed a lot over a short period of time.

"Running against Giuliani in '92, for you, would have been harder," he told Quinn.

"I would have kicked his ass," she deadpanned.

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The audience at the Time Warner Center laughed and applauded.

Quinn currently leads public opinion polls among Democrats in this year's race for mayor, while a former Giuliani aide, Joe Lhota, leads the Republican field.

Quinn argued that it wasn't just the passage of time that changed the public's acceptance on a host of gay rights issues, but rather, individuals coming out and raising the collective profile of the LGBT community.

In addition to gay characters on television and in movies, Quinn thanked President Obama for coming out in support of gay marriage and for refusing to defend part of the Defense of Marriage Act. Quinn said she was in the "doghouse" for a little while, when she forcefully urged an unnamed White House senior official to stop defending DOMA, before the White House had committed to that position.

Later, she said there's a balance that has to be struck between fighting opponents of gays rights, and giving those opponents time to change their positions. "People are allowed to evolve," she said.

That's when another panelist piped up with, "Jodie Foster," whose speech at last month's Golden Globe awards included a rambling and mostly redundant acknowledgement that she is gay.

"Well, I don't really understand," Quinn said, referring to Foster, while the audience laughed and burst into applause.

"I thought it was insane," said Mutchnick, the producer of "Will and Grace."

"In all seriousness, it was painful," Quinn said of Foster's speech. "And what's the Mel Gibson thing?" (Foster was seated alongside Gibson and thanked him in her speech.)

"Watching her," Quinn said, "it was so painful. I mean it was really painful. Which reminds us even in 2013, even post-'Will and Grace,' even when you have the president of the United States look in the lens of a national TV camera and say he is for marriage equity, unbelievable, when he was not sky-rocketing in the polls—make no mistake—that was not a brilliant political move by any stretch of the imagination, but he did it.

"Even with all of that, and even with all of her money and her fame and whatever, it's still hard for people to come out. We need to remember that."

The event organizers allow reporters to film only the first 15 minutes of panel discussion, which lasted over an hour. A spokesperson for the event, Carrie Johnson, said the full video will be posted at some point on this site.