By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter was strongly defending his police commissioner today, one day after Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Williams said that, if elected, he would not let Charles Ramsey stay on.

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The mayor veered off script during remarks he made at the annual memorial service for police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.   He praised Commissioner Ramsey for his service and said that hiring him was one of the smartest things he has done as mayor.

“And anyone who is not smart enough to at least ask him to stay is probably not smart enough to run the City of Philadelphia,” Nutter said, taking a swipe at Williams, who is running in the May 19th primary.

Williams has called Ramsey an “impediment” to building trust, largely due to the city’s stop-and-frisk policy.

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After Nutter’s remarks today, Ramsey declined direct comment.  As for his future, he said, “Certainly whoever is fortunate to become mayor, this is one of the most important positions anyone can fill.  And they ought to be able to select whomever they want.”

Ramsey added he was humbled by the mayor’s defense of his job performance.


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