Bloomberg: NYC mayoral race front-runner waging ‘racist’ campaign

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during a news conference with New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Ray Kelly (L) about a judge's ruling on "stop and frisk" at City Hall in New York. Credit: Reuters
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has accused Public Advocate Bill de Blasio of exploiting his biracial family for the sake of publicity.
Credit: Reuters

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the Democratic front-runner to succeed him as mayor is waging a “class warfare and racist” campaign, according to an interview published on New York Magazine’s website on Saturday.

Bill de Blasio, the city’s public advocate who has built his campaign around rising economic inequality, has been surging in public polls, overtaking the race’s longtime front-runner, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a Bloomberg ally.

“Tearing people apart with this ‘two cities’ thing doesn’t make any sense to me,” Bloomberg is quoted as saying. Asked if he has been running a class-warfare campaign, Bloomberg replied, “class warfare and racist.”

With Tuesday’s primary contests looming, Bloomberg offered a tacit endorsement of Quinn on the Democratic side and, on the Republican side, Joe Lhota, the former head of the city’s mass transit agency, saying the New York Times endorsement of those candidates got it right.

“I thought the Times was right in their editorials on Lhota and Quinn. I’m very pleased about that,” Bloomberg said.

Since taking office in 2002, Bloomberg has been credited with a historic drop in crime, sweeping changes to the city’s public schools and making New York a national leader on public health and carbon reduction. But the billionaire mayor is often criticized for appearing out of touch on issues such as the city’s affordability and services for the poor and the homeless.

None of the Democratic candidates have openly sought his endorsement.

Bloomberg’s decision four years ago to seek a change to the city’s term-limits law so he could run for a third term damaged the reputation of Quinn, who supported that decision. De Blasio emerged as one of the loudest opponents of the change, which helped elevate his stature in the city.

‘Our poor are wealthy’

In the magazine interview, Bloomberg reserved his strongest words for de Blasio, who is white, taking issue in particular with the visible role played by the candidate’s wife, who is black, and their two children.

De Blasio’s son, Dante, who is biracial and wears his hair in a tall afro, starred in a campaign ad that promoted de Blasio’s opposition to the controversial stop-and-frisk policing tactic that overwhelmingly targets young black and Latino men.

“I mean, he’s making an appeal using his family to gain support. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing,” Bloomberg told the magazine. “I do not think he himself is racist. It’s comparable to me pointing out I’m Jewish in attracting the Jewish vote. You tailor messages to your audiences and address issues you think your audience cares about.”

A spokesman for de Blasio said the candidate would respond to Bloomberg at an event on Saturday afternoon. Bloomberg’s office declined to offer any additional statement, and Quinn’s and Lhota’s campaigns also offered no immediate comment.

Bloomberg also took issue with criticism that the city’s poor have suffered during his three terms in office, which comes to an end in 2014.

“I’m not being cavalier about it, but most places in the world our poor are wealthy. There’s a lot of tragedy around the world,” Bloomberg said.

Previous measures of poverty looked at income and not services available to individuals — like air conditioning, which Bloomberg said was available to most Americans.

“When we grew up we didn’t have air conditioning. Air conditioning in the schools, the subways. Are you crazy? Now, by most of the world’s standards, you ain’t poor,” he said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…