"The sideshow has to end," New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio declared Tuesday of the Anthony Weiner scandal.
Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," de Blasio called himself "the progressive alternative in this race" and pointed to a Quinnipiac University poll that shows him up 6 points in the Democratic field since the newest Weiner sexting scandal broke last week.
"We are not talking about issues like racial profiling or the affordable housing crisis or hospital closures in Brooklyn. We are not talking about any of that. We are talking about one individual, and this election is supposed to be about all of us. It’s supposed to be about the future of New York City," de Blasio, the city's elected public advocate, said on the news program.
Top among the issues de Blasio wants to address is inequality.
"We had growing inequality in New York City, we had an affordability crisis. We have what I call a tale of two cities," he said, citing a report showing that 46 percent of New Yorkers are at or near the poverty level.
"This is a city now that’s a struggle for many people to live in, to struggle to make ends meet in."
De Blasio called for an increase in the minimum wage, saying "it's impossible" to live in the city and support a family on $7.25 an hour.
"We need to go right away in this city to the $9 minimum wage. We need the power to set our own minimum wage."
The Democratic candidate also weighed in on the "stop and frisk" policy of the New York Police Department, which some city officials have criticized as a tool that promotes profiling.
"I think it's corrosive and undermining the future safety of the city," de Blasio said. "And particularly for young men of color, it is sending a horrible message that they are not part of the society in the same way."
De Blasio predicted his chances in the mayoral race would continue to improve over the next six weeks before election day.
"When people start to focus, a real progressive impulse will come out in the New York City electorate. They see the challenges and they want change."
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