(Max Rivlin-Nadler) The four trailing Democratic candidates for mayor launched a frantic attempt to derail Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s momentum during last night’s final, awkward mayoral debate. The primary election (thankfully) is now under a week away.

The debate, which was marked by an overly-assertive moderator, as well as the eagerness of the candidates to paint their opponents as corrupt, saw former Comptroller Bill Thompson and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn challenge de Blasio once again on whether his left-leaning approach was genuine, and whether he was acting more as a tactician than a true progressive.

“We need a leader, not a cheerleader,” Bill Thompson said, referring to de Blasio’s evasiveness regarding his past positions.

Quinn and Thompson focused on the recent allegation that de Blasio had accepted campaign money from landlords who had appeared on his “worst landlord” list, put out by his Public Advocate office.

“Once a landlord does the right thing, we commend them,” de Blasio said. “If they chose to make a donation, that’s up to them, but we would not let them off the hook.”

Bill Thompson used the opportunity to portray de Blasio as pandering. “Bill de Blasio is once again doing one thing and saying another. Just like on term limits, he flip-flopped.”

Quinn piled on. “This is classic Bill. Talking out both sides of his mouth.” (Quinn also took money from these landlords.)

de Blasio found a strange ally in former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who called out the landlord-donor affair as having little substance and unrelated to the issues at stake.

Read More: Gothamist

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