Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio have come under heavy criticism for a joke they told at a charity show in New York on April 9 (video below).
The skit began with Clinton ribbing de Blasio for his late endorsement of her presidential run, which came months after the former secretary of state formally announced her campaign.
"I just have to say thanks for the endorsement, Bill," she said. "Took you long enough."
"Sorry Hillary, I was running on C.P. time," de Blasio responded, reportedly alluding to the slang term "colored people time," which plays on stereotypes of punctuality among African-Americans.
The joke was part of the Inner Circle show, an annual comedic performance held by the New York press corps for charity.
Standing alongside the two political figures was Leslie Odom Jr., one of the stars of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Odom, who is black, appeared to be in the joke.
"That’s not — I don’t like jokes like that, Bill," Odom said.
Clinton then turned to him and delivered the punch line: “Cautious politician time. I’ve been there.”
The joke was intended to poke fun at the fact that both Blasio and Clinton have a reputation for being late to meetings and appointments, according to The New York Times. However, the use of the racially-charged phrase still struck some people as offensive.
When addressing the joke on CNN, the mayor responded that "people are missing the point of it."
"It was clearly a staged show," he said during the April 11 interview. "It was a scripted show and the whole idea was to do the counter intuitive and say 'cautious politician time.'
"Every actor involved, including Hillary Clinton and Leslie Odom Jr., thought it was a joke on a different convention. That was the whole idea of it."
A spokesperson for the mayor also released a statement regarding the joke.
"Let's be clear, in an evening of satire, the only person this was meant to mock was the Mayor himself, period," the spokesperson said. "Certainly no one intended to offend anyone."
The Democratic primary in New York, where Clinton hopes to stymie the rising campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, will be held on April 19.