New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd apologized for misquoting the wife of New York City mayoral contender Bill de Blasio in her piece on Thursday, attributing the error to a “noisy” coffee shop.
Dowd originally quoted Chirlane McCray, the wife of the Democratic upstart, as saying that her husband’s rival Christine Quinn is “not accessible … She’s not the kind of person I feel I can go up to and talk to about issues like taking care of children at a young age and paid sick leave.” The quote prompted Quinn’s camp to fire back, accusing McCray of going “over the line.”
But that wasn’t quite what McCray said, as evidenced by the audio (posted below) from the interview that was released by de Blasio’s campaign.
“Well, I am a woman, and she is not speaking to the issues I care about, and I think a lot of women feel the same way,” McCray said in the interview. “I don’t see her speaking to the concerns of women who have to take care of children at a young age or send them to school and after school, paid sick days, workplace; she is not speaking to any of those issues. What can I say? And she’s not accessible, she’s not the kind of person that, I feel, that you can go up and talk to and have a conversation with about those things. And I suspect that other women feel the same thing I’m feeling.”
The Times subsequently ran a correction for the column.
Dowd owned up to the mistake in an interview with Politico and said that the mistake was the result of a loud environment.
“I screwed up. The coffee shop was so noisy, my tape recorder didn’t pick up everything,” Dowd said. “I thought I had that one quote from her in my notes, but I garbled the end with a bit from her previous sentence.”
Dowd said she apologized to both the de Blasio and Quinn campaigns, but told Politico that McCray’s sentiment was all the same.
“The substance is the same, but the quote should be exact,” she said.
Quinn’s camp agrees, issuing a statement to say that they stand by their initial criticism.
“We stand by our statement, as the essence of Ms. McCray’s quote is the same,” Quinn spokesman Mike Morey said in the statement. “The updated Maureen Dowd column affirms the fact that the de Blasio campaign made it quite clear they believe that Christine Quinn is not the ‘kind of person who you can talk to and go up to and have a conversation [with] about those things…’ directly referencing ‘tak[ing] care of children at a young age.'”