(NEW YORK) — “I have always said I’ve had a big personality, and I’ve always said I’m a pushy broad, and I’ve always said I want to get things done,” New York City Council Speaker and mayoral contender Christine C. Quinn said in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday. “Sometimes to get things done you have to be aggressive.”
Quinn was responding to questions about a scathing portrayal of her on the front page of Tuesday’s New York Times, which listed example after example of Quinn’s temper and verbal tirades over the years — directed at both colleagues and enemies alike.
“She has threatened, repeatedly, to slice off the private parts of those who cross her,” the nearly 1,700-word Times piece noted. One former city official described being on the receiving end of one of her outbursts: ”It’s just old-fashioned screaming, in a way that you just don’t hear that much.”
But in both her MSNBC appearance as well as a separate interview Wednesday on CNN, Quinn embraced her hard-charging, expletive-spewing, threat-wielding depiction.
“At times you need to be forceful to get things that are stuck unstuck,” she said in the CNN interview. “I have big emotions and I care deeply about delivering for New Yorkers and sometimes that means you got to push things forward — and I think New Yorkers know that. This is a tough town.”
Quinn is undoubtedly the most prominent of several women candidates running this year in mayoral races across the country in cities like Los Angeles, Houston and Albany, N.Y. And her portrayal in The Times has sparked a firestorm of commentary online.
More than a few have called the article sexist, pointing out that many a male politician has engaged in similar — and even worse — behavior. Others say spotlighting her brash style is fair game for a politician of any gender.
It’s notable that in Wednesday’s interviews Quinn, who could become New York City’s first female and openly gay mayor if she wins the September primary and is elected in November, chose not to pick a fight with The New York Times over most of the details in its story.
“I’m not a man. I’m a woman,” she said on CNN. “I’m an aggressive woman who gets things done and that’s the way it is, and I’ve never been embarrassed about the fact that I am pushy.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ariane de Vogue and Laura Jarrett, CNN
Lee Montana Newspapers
Dylan Byers, CNN
Seth Fiegerman, CNN