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Bloomberg accuses NYC mayoral frontrunner of ‘racist’ campaigning

In a long interview with New York Magazine, Michael Bloomberg criticized mayoral frontrunner Bill De Blasio for being "very left-wing."
/ Source: MSNBC TV

In a long interview with New York Magazine, Michael Bloomberg criticized mayoral frontrunner Bill De Blasio for being "very left-wing."

With less than three days left before New Yorkers decide who their mayoral candidates will be, current Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making it clear he’s not a fan of Democratic frontrunner Bill De Blasio.

In an interview with New York Magazine, Bloomberg defended his own record over the course of three terms and attacked De Blasio’s campaign, calling it “class-warfare and racist.”A poll released this week showed De Blasio at 43%, putting him ahead of his Democratic opponents and above the 40% threshold necessary to avoid a runoff.

De Blasio has been an outspoken critic of the NYPD’s unconstitutional “stop-and-frisk” search policies, which were championed by Bloomberg and led to millions of black and Latino New Yorkers being stopped by police without probable cause. De Blasio has spoken about talking with his son Dante, who is multiracial, about racial profiling, and Dante filmed a well-received campaign ad for his father.

Speaking of the involvement of De Blasio’s family in his campaign, Bloomberg described it as “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.”

In addition to attacking De Blasio, Bloomberg defended his crackdown on Occupy Wall Street, his support of the financial industry even after the national economic meltdown of 2008, his hard line approach to negotiations with city unions, and his recent foray into national advocacy on gun control. He also dismissed speculation about a future presidential run. “You cannot in this country win an election unless you are the nominee of one of the two major parties,” he said, and “the second thing I am convinced of is that I could not get through the primary process with either party.”

Bloomberg also echoed some of the more notorious moments of the 2012 presidential campaign when he attacked the current city public advocate’s focus on growing income inequailty in the city. “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,” Bloomberg said. De Blasio’s message may resonate, “but this city is not two groups, and if to some extent it is, it’s one group paying for services for the other.”

The Democratic primary will take place Tuesday. Whichever candidate wins will be the heavy favorite in the November general election.