Bloomberg May Have Actually Walked Back ‘Racist’ Claim

Mayor Bloomberg. (Photo: Getty)
Mayor Bloomberg. (Photo: Getty)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to have actually retreated from his accusation that Bill de Blasio’s mayoral campaign was “racist” for deploying his multiracial family on the trail, according to an updated version of the New York magazine story that has dominated the campaign trail today.

Although the interview still quotes Mr. Bloomberg describing the campaign as “class-warfare and racist,” when pressed on “racist,” he is now quoted saying, “Well, no, no,”–suggesting the mayor did not entirely stand behind his own wording.

An editors note added to the end of the piece explains the omitted words were inaudible in New York‘s audiotape of the interview.

“The mayor’s office asked us to amend the remarks to add an interjection that was inaudible in our audiotape of the interview, which was conducted over speakerphone,” they wrote. “In our view the added words do not alter the meaning of the exchange as reflected in the published interview.”

This is the second time this summer that quoted comments on the mayor’s race have been amended following controversy.

Last month, The New York Times issued a correction after Maureen Dowd misquoted Mr. de Blasio’s wife saying that rival Christine Quinn–an open lesbian who does not have children–was “not the kind of person I feel I can go up to and talk to about issues like taking care of children at a young age and paid sick leave.”

Additional reporting by Jill Colvin.

The New York passage now reads:

Then there’s Bill de Blasio, who’s become the Democratic front-runner. He has in some ways been running a class-warfare campaign—
Class-warfare and racist.

Well, no, no, 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. 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.

But his whole campaign is that there are two different cities here. And I’ve never liked that kind of division. The way to help those who are less fortunate is, number one, to attract more very fortunate people. They are the ones that pay the bills. The people that would get very badly hurt here if you drive out the very wealthy are the people he professes to try to help. Tearing people apart with this “two cities” thing doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s a destructive strategy for those you want to help the most. He’s a very populist, very left-wing guy, but this city is not two groups, and if to some extent it is, it’s one group paying for services for the other.

It’s a shame, because I’ve always thought he was a very smart guy.

Bloomberg May Have Actually Walked Back ‘Racist’ Claim