New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, adjusts his tie as he arrives at City Hall in New York, before a news conference, Nov. 8, 2017.
FILE - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, adjusts his tie as he arrives at City Hall in New York, before a news conference, Nov. 8, 2017.

NEW YORK - New York's mayor is fending off criticism because he was in Iowa campaigning for his presidential bid while Manhattan was in the grips of a major power outage.

Bill de Blasio said Monday on MSNBC that he was in frequent contact with agencies handling the emergency and that he thinks first responders did an “incredible job.”

The Saturday night blackout darkened more than 40 square blocks of Manhattan, including Times Square.

De Blasio sidestepped criticism from numerous quarters, including from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat. A front-page New York Post editorial called for de Blasio's ouster.

De Blasio said he took a four-hour car ride from Iowa to Chicago and got on the first available plane home.

He insisted that the blackout response was well-managed with his remote supervision.