At a women’s event, de Blasio addresses his wife’s hospital job

Bill de Blasio at City Hall today. (Eliza Shapiro)
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After an endorsement event at City Hall this afternoon, Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio defended the hiring of his wife, Chirlane McCray, by a hospital in his old Council district.

"If you look at Chirlane's resume, it makes all the sense in the world why she fit what was needed there at the hospital," said de Blasio. "She had a great working relationship there and her colleagues were sad to see her go. She filled a role that made sense for her, and it's as simple as that."

The New York Times reported this morning that McCray secured a job with Maimonides Medical Center in 2005 after de Blasio introduced her to a Maimonides executive, who was impressed enough to offer to create a job for her. 

De Blasio helped secure funding for the hospital during his time in the Council.

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McCray, who has been a fixture on the campaign trail, joined de Blasio at City Hall today, where he was endorsed by the New York chapters of Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro Choice and the National Organization for Women. He was also joined by Letiticia James, who won the Democratic nomination for public advocate earlier this month, and State Senator Liz Krueger.

De Blasio connected his campaign slogan of a "Tale of Two Cities" to the needs of New York City women, saying that his campaign promises of universal pre-K, expanded after-school programs and paid sick days for companies with five or more employees would help all women, and struggling single mothers in particular. 

De Blasio called himself "blessed" to have strong female influences in his life, citing his grandmother, his mother, and his daughter Chiara, who called him when she was 15 to announce that she'd be interning at Planned Parenthood that summer. 

"Even though this city and state are better than many [on womens' issues], we have more work to do, and it's our obligation to be an example," de Blasio said. "I've disagreed with Mayor Bloomberg on many issues, but he's been exemplary on this issue and I'll follow that tradition in any way I can." 

De Blasio leads by 50 points in the latest public polls, and he defended his decision not to participate in the first televised debate of the general election last night.

"I'll be debating in three televised debates, the most televised debates in a general mayoral election since 1981," he said today. "We think that will give people plenty of information about the differences between the candidates."