Bloomberg, Being Bloomberg, Gently Undermines de Blasio, But Promises Not to Criticize Him Directly

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Last time we heard from Michael Bloomberg, he said, “I’m really not familiar with what’s been going on in New York City. I’ve been traveling a lot.” But after a golf vacation and some business in Washington, the former mayor is back to being himself in a sit-down with Yahoo’s Katie Couric, his first major interview as a (very wealthy and influential) private citizen. Bloomberg touched on all of his signature issues, including the in-litigation soda ban (“We’ll win that battle”), climate change, and gun control, but couldn’t help and remind everyone, try as he might not to be a master underminer, that Bill de Blasio is no Michael Bloomberg.

On charter schools, Mayor de Blasio’s latest battle, Bloomberg deflected, telling Couric, “You have to talk to the current administration about what they’re doing.” But when pressed, he chimed in to say, “Charter schools are public schools. That’s what everybody forgets.” He did his best.

But asked about de Blasio’s decision not to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade because of its anti-gay policies, Bloomberg said, “Other elected officials can make their decisions … Boycotting it doesn’t get it done. If anything, it makes it harder for anybody to change, if you force them into a corner. That’s just not the way I would do it.”

And yet, “I respect his decision. He’s the mayor. He makes his decision,” Bloomberg added. “Bill de Blasio’s been mayor for three months, he’s got a very tough job, and I will do everything I can to support him. And I will give him the benefit of not having me ever criticize him, the same way my predecessor Rudy Giuliani never criticized me.” In that case, he should probably just take a four-year break from interviews.