New York, NY - Bloomberg and GOP Tell Different Tales
New York, NY - Mayor Bloomberg built his political reputation as the guy who speaks uncomfortable truths, but what happens to that reputation when the truth gets muddled?
The issue arises after last week’s closed-door meeting with the five Republican county chairs who could let him onto the party’s ballot - or not.
All five chairs told the Daily News that when Bloomberg talked about Republicans he supported, he brought up John McCain. (And a top McCain source tells the Daily News’ Tom DeFrank that Bloomberg personally assured him he was a supporter, despite being publicly neutral.)
Yet when the mayor walked outside, he told reporters they talked about President Obama. And the next day, he denied ever saying he supported McCain.
“I didn’t say that at all. I’ve never said who I voted for,” Bloomberg responded. “I did say that John McCain is a friend of mine. He campaigned for me in 2001, and I’ve always respected him. ... But I certainly did not say who I supported, nor will I.”
This was all mystifying to the five Republicans, who were to varying degrees charmed by Bloomberg’s performance in the meeting - because he told the truth, and asked them to take him as he is.
“He didn’t come in saying he was a great Republican. He’s not,” one chair said. “I do appreciate his honesty.”
Added another: “I found myself liking him more than I wanted to.”
But his public walk-back soured some of those good feelings - since he was the only one who ever mentioned Obama.
“He hurt himself more with the Obama issue,” a third chair said. “Why would we have waited all that time to meet with him, and then talked about Obama?”
Bloomberg’s campaign spokesman, Howard Wolfson, said the mayor never misled the chairs about McCain.
“He has supported John McCain. That’s a little different than him saying he supported him for President,” Wolfson said. “He is a Republican that Mike Bloomberg supported.”
Remember that when Bloomberg made plans to run for President, he played word games to deny it.
And he was always opposed to extending term limits - until he did it.
And he now answers questions about his new campaign with absurdities like, “There is no campaign at the moment.”
For eight years, Bloomberg has portrayed himself as the only politician unafraid to tell New Yorkers that their taxes need to go up or their firehouses need to be closed.
Now, five important Republicans are starting to have their doubts.
What happens if the rest of New York does, too?
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