Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a Democratic mayoral candidate, accused Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday of having lied to New Yorkers about his original plan for an Olympic stadium on the West Side of Manhattan.
In a multi-themed speech at the CUNY Graduate Center, Mr. Weiner attacked the mayor for past remarks that Manhattan, not Queens, would be a better fit for the proposed stadium. Mr. Bloomberg then embraced Queens after his West Side plan hit a political wall in Albany this month and fell apart.
Saying New Yorkers should work together to win the 2012 Olympic Games, Mr. Weiner said, "I'm even prepared to look past the idea that the mayor lied to the people of the City of New York, saying we could never put a stadium in Willets Point." Mr. Weiner was referring to a section of Queens where he has advocated building such a stadium.
Explicit accusations of lying are rare in political races, especially so early in an election year. "An Upper East Sider might have used a more artful phrase, but Anthony thinks New Yorkers deserve straight talk," said his spokesman, Anson Kaye.
Stu Loeser, the mayor's campaign spokesman, condemned the remark and also tweaked Mr. Weiner by noting that the mayor's current plan would base only some Olympics administrative facilities in Willets Point, while the stadium would be located nearby, replacing Shea Stadium on a site next to it.
"It's an irresponsible allegation from someone desperate to get attention, but what's even more bizarre is that the congressman doesn't seem to know the geography of his own borough," Mr. Loeser said. "Wasn't that supposed to be his great strength?" Mr. Weiner represents part of Brooklyn and Queens.
In just 11 minutes of remarks yesterday, Mr. Weiner also called on the mayor to apologize for saying that the defeat of the West Side plan had "let down America" because the city's Olympics bid might be lost. He touched on taxes, health care, ground zero redevelopment and moves to shutter as many as 26 Roman Catholic schools in New York.
Mr. Weiner blamed the mayor for not fighting harder to protect Catholic schools, noting Mr. Bloomberg's comments, on his radio show in February, that he was "optimistic that we will be able to get some more classroom seats" as a result of Catholic school closings.
"Can you imagine the message that sends to the middle-class families who attend those schools?" Mr. Weiner said. "I can tell you, because they told me: Mike Bloomberg simply doesn't get it."
Mr. Loeser said that Mr. Weiner was misconstruing the mayor's remarks. "If the diocese elected to consolidate schools, we weren't going to let good classrooms go to waste," he said.
Mr. Weiner has said he is a strong supporter of public schools, but he has also positioned himself in this race as a different kind of Democrat. For instance, he suggested yesterday that he would give more tax relief to the middle class than the Republican incumbent, while the Bloomberg campaign has asserted that Mr. Weiner's proposals would raise taxes overall for city residents and businesses.
"He just doesn't understand that the middle class is overtaxed," Mr. Weiner said of the mayor.
Mr. Weiner also had some tough words for political strategists in his own party.
"If Democrats don't address the concerns of the middle class, and those striving to make it into the middle class, we don't deserve to win," he said.
In another Democratic campaign for mayor, C. Virginia Fields, the Manhattan borough president, held a press conference yesterday at City Hall to demand that minorities be fairly represented in construction jobs at the new Mets and Yankee Stadiums.