De Blasio makes a simple talking point of Quinn’s complicated Ray Kelly position

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Bill de Blasio said at a press conference today that Christine Quinn's desire to keep the current NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly in place while supporting the creation of an inspector general to oversee department policy is "the greatest contradiction in the world."

All the leading Democratic candidates have substantially the same position on stop-and-frisk, which is that the tactic shouldn't be banned but needs to be reformed and used more sparingly. But only Quinn expressed support for keeping Kelly, later adding qualifications to that position.

De Blasio has placed particular emphasis on the stop-and-frisk issue, which has helped him make in-roads with progressives and black voters.

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Focusing on Quinn's support of Kelly, which the Times editorial page called "dissonant and contradictory" in its endorsement of Quinn, allows de Blasio to seize on the clearest differentiator between them on the issue.

In the last candidate debate, de Blasio tried to put Quinn on the defensive for her vote against one of two police-oversight bills in the Council. But Quinn used the occasion to explain her opposition to the one bill, which some legal experts argue is an ineffectual mess on a technical level, and highlight her work on the other, which will put in place an inspector general for the police department. She seemed to emerge from the exchange unscathed.

The Kelly issue may be different, because of that dissonance cited by the Times in its endorsement editorial. So far, Quinn's best answer to the question of how she could support Kelly as commissioner while opposing his agenda is to say that as mayor, she'd remove him if he didn't change the department's ways.