Michael Bloomberg said today that he wants to start a new policy of taking campaign-related questions at his campaign events, in part so he does not have to field those inquiries when he’s at events acting in his capacity as mayor.
Until now, he has generally been resistant to the idea of dealing with what he deems to be political questions at public events, and when reporters have asked them anyway, the mayor has alternately ducked or scolded.
“I’ll make the commitment to you,” Bloomberg said, standing in his midtown campaign office this morning. “I’ll take campaign questions at campaign events, and not at general events, because I don’t think it’s appropriate.”
He made the announcement this morning as he was accepting the endorsement from Representative Gary Ackerman, a Democrat. Ackerman endorsed Bloomberg’s Democratic opponent four years ago, but said he switched this year because he saw the mayor’s “demonstrated” ability to deal with terrorism and the economy.
Standing next to Ackerman, Bloomberg said he feels “strongly that campaign issues should be discussed at a location like this, at an occasion like this.”
“This is clearly today a political campaign event in a location that has nothing to do with city government,” he said.
“I won’t answer campaign questions in a setting where I’m acting as mayor. And I don’t think I should discuss the city in places where I’m acting like a candidate, because it may be that not everybody has access to the information. So, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Over the weekend, the New York Post ran an A.P. news analysis about how the mayor did not normally take campaign questions. Last week, the Post’s generally pro-Bloomberg editorial page wrote that the mayor’s exorbitant campaign spending “has dried up what might well have been a compelling—and, frankly, necessary—conversation about the city’s future.”
The mayor’s new openness as a candidate has its limits, though: at this morning’s event, he declined to commit to participating in any campaign debates.
UDPATE: Following up on last week’s events, Michael Barbaro asked Bloomberg if he regretted the “you’re a disgrace” remark, and whether he thought his temper would affect the campaign. “We’re beyond that,” Bloomberg said about the remark. As for his temper, Bloomberg said, as he has before, “I am who I am.”