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De Blasio’s grunt work for Clinton campaign in Iowa

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Sunday, January 31, 2016, 9:51 PM

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, check lists of potential caucusers as they go door-knocking in Indianola, Iowa.

Thanks, mayor, but we’re good.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign initially said no to Mayor de Blasio when he offered to work on her campaign in Iowa because they had plenty of high-profile supporters hitting the corn circuit, the mayor said Sunday.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 2016 IOWA CAUCUSES

But de Blasio, who worked as Clinton’s campaign manager when she was elected to the Senate in 2000, said he wanted to come not as a VIP spokesman — known in politics as a “surrogate” — but as an everyday campaign worker, knocking doors and phone banking for the White House hopeful.

“I said, ‘I want to work. I’m ready to do the real work. I don’t need to do anything special,’ ” de Blasio told reporters on his second day in the Hawkeye State.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leads a campaign rally at Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa January 31, 2016.ADREES LATIF/REUTERS

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leads a campaign rally at Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa January 31, 2016.

“I want to go out there and knock on doors and reach people, because that’s what I like to do. That’s what I know how to do and I’ve done it in Iowa before and . . . there’s always a need for all of that.”

The campaign accepted his grunt work offer in Iowa and said he could campaign in New Hampshire as a surrogate.

IOWANS HAVE NO IDEA WHO’S MAYOR DE BLASIO

His staff said he’s knocked on about 100 doors in Iowa over the past two days, and also made calls to registered Democrats who are on the fence about Clinton to try to persuade them to vote for her Monday.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray (right) talk with a local resident as they go door-knocking.

Many of those voters had no idea who the tall guy knocking on their door was.

The News followed him while he was canvassing in Indianola, a small city south of Des Moines with a population of around 15,000 — about the same as a few blocks of Manhattan.

One woman rebuffed the mayor and his wife, Chirlane McCray, who accompanied him, in seconds.

“Thanks anyway. I like your shirt though,” he said about her mustard-colored Iowa Hawkeyes garb as her door was closing on him.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiJefferson Siegel/New York Daily News

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, (left) are rebuffed by local resident Judy Sherman (right), 69, who didn’t want to speak to the New York power couple.

When The News knocked, the woman — Judy Sherman, 69 — said she told him she wasn’t voting in the caucus this year.

Asked if she knew he was the mayor of New York, she said, “I do not know. I do not care.”

DE BLASIO SAYS CLINTON IS CANDIDATE FOR PROGRESSIVE CAUSES

De Blasio has said that his work in Iowa is important whether or not people recognize him, because his “mission” is to give support for those who are with Clinton and to try to persuade those who aren’t. But some questioned whether he’s wasting his time — especially since he has no plans to have any meaningful time with Clinton.

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From left to right, Erika Alexander, a star of “Living Single” and “The Cosby Show,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee in Indianola, Iowa.

“He’s the mayor of the largest most important city in the country in the world, and he’s out there knocking on doors and not meeting with the candidate,” said Jeanne Zaino, a political science professor at Iona College. “I’m not sure it’s the best use of his time or his talents or his office. How many big city mayors are out there?”

She speculated that he might be trying to make amends with Clinton for endorsing her so late in the campaign.

“I think this is a mea culpa and it’s going to need to be a big one,” said Zaino.

Kenneth Sherrill, a professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College, agreed he might be atoning for the late endorsement. “This is like wearing sackcloth and ashes,” he said.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiJefferson Siegel/New York Daily News

From left to right,  Bill de Blasio, Erika Alexander, and Chirlane McCray in Indianola, Iowa.

But he also said that political junkies like de Blasio sometimes can’t help but be near a close race like the one Clinton is locked in with Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist giving the presumed favorite some stiff competition.

“I don’t discount the possibility that he felt he had to be there,” said Sherrill.

De Blasio, who is expected to return to New York City on Tuesday, is planning on attending Clinton’s optimistically titled “victory” party on Monday night after the caucuses. He paid for the five-day trip out of his own pocket.


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