Michael Bloomberg’s critics are once again trying to turn his plans to spend eye-popping amounts of campaign money into a liability, saying that it underscores the weakness of his record.
Yesterday, Bloomberg defended his right to spend unlimited amounts of money on his campaign, saying, “It is very difficult to get a message out to the public” and “sometimes some reporters don’t accurately describe what we have done.”
Campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson elaborated, saying that Bloomberg’s wealth gives him independence unmatched by candidates who are dependent on donor money.
In an email, Wolfson wrote, “The mayor has never taken a dime of special interest money. He has never taken a dime from lobbyists. This November NYers will again have an opportunity to vote for a candidate who is unbought and unbossed and beholden only to the public.”
Bloomberg’s campaign spending has been an issue even before he won his first term. In a Nexis-able 2001 interview on the Today Show, host Katie Couric speculated that Bloomberg may wind up spending “$45 million more than, perhaps, your opponent?”
In the interview, Bloomberg replied: “Well, that’s not a fair comparison because if you had been a politician for a long time, if you’ve been in government, you have all the visibility that that office has created. You have the use of your staff that’s paid for by the taxpayers for getting out, working, and manning phones, and sending out faxes and mails. And if you’ve run many times, my opponent’s run for office 11 times, he’s used that, rightly so, to build up name recognition.
“I come in, nobody knows who I am outside of the business community, and the public can’t be bought. All you can do is get your message out. Hopefully, they’ll listen. Hopefully, they’ll like what they see. Hopefully, they’ll vote for me. And hopefully, I’ll win.”