Green, Mark

Clips from Jonah Green’s 2003 documentary Off the Record, about the 2001 mayoral race.

Mark Green, then in his second term as public ­advocate, had the distinction of facing the voters four times during the 2001 mayor’s race: Once as a candidate in the Democratic primary that was halted ­because of the 9/11 attacks; a second time in the ­rescheduled primary on September 25; then a third time in a Democratic runoff with Fernando Ferrer; and finally on November 6, when Green [G4] lost the general election by two points, the closest in a century, to the suddenly surging ­Michael Bloomberg. Keep reading below for Green’s inside account of the decisive weeks of his campaign.

“Looks like I’ll be running for mayor.” It’s September 24, 1999, and I’m sitting in my living room overlooking the East River at 90th Street, breaking some news gently to my wife. “But what if you lose?” asks Deni, wary of my irrational confidence that critics call arrogance. “How would that affect us?”

Lose? What does lose mean? “Okay, there are no guarantees in politics. I think I’ll win unless there’s some big, unexpected event that changes everything, like that racial killing in Bensonhurst during the Dinkins-Koch race in August of ‘89.”

So begins two years of glad-handing, fund-raising, and speeches, as Deni and I confide privately (away from the kids, staff, and journalists), “Can’t wait till September 11!”—anticipating the scheduled date of the 2001 Democratic Primary.

Fast-forward to the evening of September 10, 2001. Polls show me ahead in the four-way Democratic primary and trouncing Republican multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg in a general election matchup. In the same living room, I announce, as any vindicated husband would, “Well, honey, there was no big unexpected event—it has all gone as planned.” We hug, kiss, and sit motionless for several moments. “Can’t wait till September 11,” she giggles, for the last time.

The next morning, a video shot by our son Jonah shows us walking through a clutch of journalists and passersby in front of our residential building only 100 yards north of Gracie Mansion. The time stamp at the bottom of the frame read “7:45 a.m., 9/11, 2001.”*

I vote and then hurry to a grade school at Sixth Avenue and 11th Street to greet parents and fidgety kids on the first day of class. I bellow my final “Don’t forget to vote today!” to a young couple walking west and, at 8:46 a.m., turn with satisfaction to deputy campaign manager Jeremy Ben-Ami. “That was the last handshake! Primary’s over! Let’s go back to the apartment.” Then I hear someone blurt out an “oh” in a way that sounds as if something unusual has happened. On a completely blue, clear, and sunny day, I look up toward downtown…

* * * *

Staring at the flame and smoke billowing out of the first World Trade Center building, without any commentators to first contextualize what’s going on, I can’t compute anything beyond Where’s Bruce Willis? and How could this happen on Election Day? Someone shrieks, “A plane accidentally hit the World Trade Center!” Based on the perfect visibility and the site, I murmur, “That was no accident.”

Our apartment of stunned staff and family is sitting shiva. Like everyone around the city, we’re mesmerized by the sickening images of the collapsing towers on TV—but unlike everyone, I get a call after 11 a.m. from the governor’s office saying that the election is postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date. Like a rained-out baseball game? That night, my Harvard Law School roommate, Sandy Berger, who became President Clinton’s national security advisor, stays over since he can’t get out of town after a speech. Eating leftovers while watching Charlie Rose, I ask, “You guys ever anticipate a terrorist attack by plane?” “Nope,” he says, adding that in his last briefing of the incoming Condi Rice, he told her that terrorism would be Bush’s No. 1 foreign-policy problem.

“Can’t wait till September 11” has a new meaning.

* * * *

I visit ground zero on Thursday to thank emergency personnel and see the wreckage firsthand. Smelling the sulfurous air and seeing the mountains of twisted steel are scenes from postwar Dresden. On that Friday, with a friend who owns an Outback franchise, we organize a tent along the East River under FDR Drive to serve steaks and burgers to exhausted (and contaminated) emergency personnel. They are surprised to see a politician with an apron handing out the food, with no cameras or media. It feels satisfying… until I remember why we’re there at all.

Later that day I visit one of the few injured survivors at New York Hospital. A building had fallen on him and crushed his legs. “Don’t worry, Mr. Green. I’ll be back up—and so will the city,” he says in a strong voice.

*This article has been corrected to show that the film clip of the Greens on the morning of 9/11 was taken at 7:45 a.m.

* * * *

Rudy and I—coming from contrasting traditions, styles, and beliefs—have mutual respect and hostility. At a fund-raising party September 9, I joke that “the thing about Giuliani is, either you love him… or he hates you.” But I abandon that line and line of reasoning after he transforms from Nixon to Churchill in those 24 hours, when he so skillfully rallies the city through the worst day in her history.

Campaigning resumes the following Monday for the now-rescheduled September 25 primary. The press and public are closely watching how Bronx Borough President Freddy Ferrer, City Controller Alan Hevesi, City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, and I react to the very changed and fraught circumstances. Ferrer says that he understands what the city needs because in the Bronx he’s seen “rubble bounce” and because he witnessed the 1990 Happy Land arson fire that killed 87; he adds that rebuilding funds should be “dispersed around the city.” Editorial opinion is hostile to what they think sounds more like patronage than recovery.

In reaction to what many folks regard as Giuliani’s divisive ways, my campaign slogan from the start is “a Mayor for All” – and I often appear with both former Mayor David Dinkins and former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

I win the Times endorsement, Vallone the News. But Ferrer and his top adviser, former Dinkins deputy mayor Bill Lynch, implement their Black-Brown strategy of rallying the minority community to the polls, aided by the huge coordinated effort of the 1199 Hospital Workers Union. This is an understandable political plan given the lineup of three other white candidates—hence Ferrer’s slogan that focuses on “the two New Yorks” and “the other New York.” I remember one day campaigning in the Bronx when a young man sees me, comes over, and says, “Green, I think you’re great, but, hey, I’m a Latino!” He shrugs, I laugh, and we both get it.

In the Democratic primary, Ferrer wins 36 percent of the vote, me 31 percent. There will be a runoff.

* * * *

The campaign is seen largely through the lens of the singular calamity. Interviews, press conferences, and street talk focus on post-9/11 policies, not so much the usual mayoral fare of education, crime, taxes, services. Children look up, frightened, when planes fly overhead; many Manhattan residents carry water bottles to clear their throats, which are raspy from the metallic air.

I attend numerous funerals of fallen uniformed personnel, as the Fire Department lost about half as many men in one day—343—than had died in the Department’s entire history. The first is the saddest—my friend, Father Mychal Judge, the Fire Department chaplain. A beloved figure whom I got to know through our mutual friend, hero cop Steve McDonald, “Father Mike” is the first recorded fatality on September 11, when debris from the World Trade Center towers killed him as he was administering last rites to victims. Officer McDonald, former President Clinton, Cardinal Egan, Mayor Giuliani, and I, among other dignitaries, deliver eulogies to 3,000 mourners downtown at the St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church.

* * * *

* * * *

It’s 3:15, September 27, on Yom Kippur, two days into the runoff. The mayor’s office is calling to ask that I meet with him at 5 p.m. at the West Side piers, where he’s set up a temporary office now that City Hall has been evacuated. The subject is not mentioned.

I’m ushered alone into a small, windowless room with the mayor.Characteristically, he gets right to the point: “Look, Mark, the city is in an emergency and I have my Cabinet working together every hour to get through this—and who knows if something else might happen? I’m asking each of the three remaining candidates to support a proposed legal change to give me and my experienced team 90 more days after the scheduled January 1 swearing-in to finish what we started.”

Well that’s pretty creative and chutzpadick I think. “Mr. Mayor, I understand your desire to finish what you’re doing. But even Lincoln during the Civil War, a worse emergency, went ahead with a scheduled election in 1864. Postponing the swearing-in would set a terrible precedent.” The meeting lasts five minutes and ends with Giuliani asking me to “think about it more since Mike has already agreed.”

En route home, mayoral aide Denny Young calls my cell to imply that the mayor will publicly condemn me if I don’t agree to support a 90-day extension—this at a time when Giuliani aides are openly speculating and newspapers reporting that “America’s Mayor” might seek to change the state law’s term limits and run again himself.

I go home to a pre-Atonement dinner with my family. “You’re not gonna believe what the mayor asked me to agree to,” I say, as we down Deni’s matzo-ball soup and brisket. Fearing how he might wield his new stature and clout, the consensus of staff and family is to acquiesce to an extension.

Later that evening, I reverse course from my initial response to Rudy and call Young to say that I’ll go along if three months can be added to the next mayor’s term.

The upshot: Ferrer refuses Giuliani’s entreaty and looks like a hero standing up to a bully; Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver refuses to allow the necessary change in state law; and my lead over Ferrer plunges from ten points ahead to a tie. Eight years of fighting Giuliani on everything from racial profiling to an incinerator in Brooklyn seems to evaporate in a day. I deserve it. I vow not to go against my instinct again… if there is an again.

* * * *

It’s late in the runoff and my media firm is showing me an ad that attacks Ferrer for his response after 9/11 and that quotes citywide editorials (New York Times: “borderline irresponsible”). The tagline is, “Can we afford to take this chance?” I sign off on the commercial, which reminds pollster Mark Mellman and me of Walter Mondale’s ads trying to slow down surging challenger Gary Hart in the 1984 Democratic presidential primaries. (I was Hart’s speechwriter.)

It airs and the Ferrer camp is furious, claiming it’s racial. Huh? Was the Times anti-Latino or just underwhelmed? I call Antonio Villaraigosa, whom I personally know and who is at the time a major Latino politician in L.A. running for mayor [Ed.: He is currently its mayor], asking if he thought the ad was racial. He listens and laughs. “Hey, my white opponent is running spots implying that I’m a drug dealer. Yours is within bounds.”

* * * *

What to do about Al Sharpton? We’ve always gotten along well and he knows that I’ve often challenged Giuliani on police misconduct and other contentious issues. At the same time, there is no more racially divisive figure in the city, now or probably ever. He has favorable ratings of 65 percent among African-Americans, 18 percent among whites.

Given Giuliani’s testy relations with communities of color—and my very different history with them as Mayor Dinkins’s consumer commissioner and then the elected public advocate—I’m running on the racially unifying theme of “A Mayor for All.” So I decide early on not to seek Al’s endorsement, which is very likely to go to Ferrer in any event, but to pay him respect so that, if I won, he would know that he wouldn’t again be treated like a pariah. Throughout the campaign, reporters would repeatedly ask me to attack Sharpton and, to their acknowledged frustration, I repeatedly decline.

At the suggestion of a mutual friend, Allen Roskoff, I invite the Reverend, his wife, Kathy, and Allen to join Deni and me in the spring to see Judgment at Nuremberg on Broadway and then have dinner. We all watch and then chat easily about the history behind the play and about city affairs and politics. Not a word is said about his endorsement.

Two years later, Sharpton publishes an autobiography, Al on America, in which he denounces me for playing the race card by denying that I directly—and or “implicit[ly]”—solicited his support that night.

* * * *

I’m in a bathrobe drinking coffee at 7:10 a.m. on October 3 when I take a scheduled phoner with Mark Riley of WWRL radio. He asks, “If you had been mayor during 9/11, how would you have done?” I reply, “I actually believe that if, God forbid, I had been mayor during such a calamity, I would have done as well [as] or even better than Giuliani.”

Stupid answer. The right answer of a shrewd politician is always, “I don’t answer hypotheticals… and Rudy did great.” But my words play into the trope that I’m arrogant. Bloomberg plucks out my response and runs a heavy buy of ads with my exact words, ending with, “Really?” Very effective.

I go on “Imus” to eat crow and apologize. “What were you thinking!” “Well, I’m always trying to aim high and do my best and blah blah…”

…” Here, though, is what I was thinking: I was pissed that Rudy had been toying with the idea of overturning the term limits law and then running himself, which struck me as not very civic-minded. Not wrong for me to think that [see M. Bloomberg, 2008] but not smart to say that. I rediscover the accuracy of Michael Kinsley’s famous axiom that a gaffe in politics is not when you tell a lie but when you tell the truth.

* * * *

On October 11, I win the runoff 52 to 48 percent. But Ferrer doesn’t return my calls seeking his endorsement, as defeated primary candidates always give (me, too, in other elections). Beyond a Board of Elections counting snafu (that shrinks the margin to 51–49), his camp is seething because of the “Take a chance?” ad and a flyer handed out over the final weekend in white, conservative parts of Brooklyn that reprints a New York Post cartoon mocking him and taunting him for kissing up to Sharpton. When first told about the flyers and similar robo-calls the day after the runoff, I denounce them as “reprehensible” and vow that any “asshole(s)” who did that would never work in any Green administration.

A week passes. No call back and no endorsement. As I’m preparing for the annual Al Smith dinner at the Waldorf, Ferrer’s office calls: The Borough President will see you tonight at his campaign office. Okay. At 9:30 p.m. I leave a dais of 100 religious and political celebrities and, incongruously attired in white tie and tails, go to the East Side, sweep by several reporters who had been tipped off, and enter a conference room with Ferrer, Lynch, Sharpton, and assemblyman and campaign manager Roberto Ramirez. Their grim faces convey the feel of a police third-degree, without the lamp shining in my face.

They harangue me and my campaign manager, Rich Schrader, about perceived offenses. An annoyed Schrader soon walks out in a huff, leaving the Democratic mayoral nominee alone to face his interrogators. I explain again that I knew nothing about the Brooklyn flyers and have repeatedly condemned them… but should that incident really justify returning the mayoralty to Republican control for four or eight more years? Over an hour later, Freddy suggests a clinching meeting the next day with his leading minority supporters. I agree.

In the same venue on Friday morning, October 19, I join Ferrer and Representative Charlie Rangel, Representative Greg Meeks, State Senator David Paterson, and several dozen others from the Ferrer camp—as well as some of my supporters like former Mayor Dinkins, assemblyman Denny Farrell, Brooklyn party chair Clarence Norman—to have a larger version of the prior evening’s conversation.* The questions are pointed but respectful—and I feel completely calm and self-assured given my relationships with this community. Also aware that minority leaders are rightly sensitive to being taken for granted at election time, I comment in closing that as much as I hope to win their support, I especially want their participation in governing the city. We’d be a team not for a month but a term.

Ferrer endorses me publicly at a 2 p.m. “Unity Press Conference” that day with a few dozen leaders from the meeting. (Later, several Ferrer supporters would condense my imploring hour into this one translation: I don’t need you to win. As a law professor of mine once said, “To the jaundiced eye all looks yellow.”)

* * * *

Mike Bloomberg is a rookie candidate who makes his share of mistakes and flubs. But he rarely engages the media—or me for that matter—because he doesn’t have to. He needn’t comply with the usual protocols of making fund-raising calls, campaigning daily at subway stops, showing up at every evening event… because his asset is his assets.

I make 30,000 phone calls and the campaign organizes 200 fund-raisers over three years to raise $12.5 million, the most ever for mayor in any American city, with one exception—the $74 million in checks that Bloomberg writes to himself. He spends more in one city than Richard Nixon did in 1972 in the whole country, more than Al Gore did the prior year to win a national nomination. After the campaign, I file a telephone directory-size book of nearly 10,000 donors with the Campaign Finance Board; if Bloomberg hadn’t opted out of the public finance system, his filing would have been comprised of one name on one page – his own, Bloomberg’s $17 million expenditure on daily direct mail is alone more than I spend for everything total. He sends people free radios with his name on them. Every time I turn on the TV, look up at Madison Square Garden during a Knicks game, look down at the ground at subway stops, there he is, in English, Spanish, Chinese, whatever.

In April of 2001, Bloomberg is asked by New York Magazine about reports that he could spend as much as $30 million, and he responds that the number is both too high and “obscene.” Thirty million, jeez, that would be breathtaking. But I doubted that even that amount could overcome my record, recognition, and history of service. Indeed, after the first $50 million, he is still trailing.

*This article has been corrected to show that Denny Farrell was an assemblyman in 2001, not the state Democratic party chair.

I take a call from Mellman early in the general election.* “I’ve never worked for a candidate who lost an election as far ahead as you are,” he says. “But then, I’ve never worked against a candidate spending a million-plus a day and gaining a point a day either. You can’t assume anything here.”

* * * *

The Yankees win the pennant and get into the World Series. Hooray. But this gives Bloomberg additional opportunities to advertise the endorsement of the now-lionized Giuliani every inning to “middle middle Democrats,” as Team Bloomberg calls them. Oy. David Garth, Bloomberg’s legendary media guru, says in the Village Voice after the election that the Giuliani ad netted his candidate sixteen points.

Koch endorses Bloomberg. “Why?” he is asked. “Because Green’s obnoxious!” Then, during our one official general-election debate on WABC-TV, Mike starts arguing that I’m divisive and egotistical. When you’re attacked as obnoxious by Ed Koch, and racial by Al Sharpton, and egotistical by someone who’s written a book called Bloomberg on Bloomberg, something’s wrong.

During that debate, I recall thinking, I’m doing fine… but so is he. He’s smart, poised, well-spoken. As Butch Cassidy said of his pursuers, “Who are those guys?”

* * * *

The Independence Party run by Lenora Fulani has many unsavory ties and an anti-Semitic reputation. So, following Hillary Clinton’s lead in her 2000 Senate race, I refuse to even try for its endorsement. Mike tries very hard. My staff tell me that he’s giving them money.

* * * *

I begin the delayed and truncated general election with a 70–20 favorable-unfavorable rating—and a lead of twenty points. Going into the final weekend three weeks later, my favorable-unfavorable is 50–43 and it’s a dead heat.

The combination of 9/11 and the separate anthrax scare have given Bloomberg’s candidacy a political rationale previously lacking (a businessman can rebuild the city)—and these events leave little room for normal political coverage, making paid commercials an even more valuable source of information. Indeed, the money disparity is worsening as my media buyer reports that stations have jacked up the price of ads precisely because of Mike’s monumental buy. Just when I need a bigger boat, mine is shrinking.

* * * *

It’s Thursday, November 1, and Governor George Pataki is calling mid-morning. “Mark, because we need to restore the city as quickly as possible, I want you to know that I’m today appointing a Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to begin that effort.”

A pause as I process this unexpected and unappreciated pronouncement. “Governor, you can’t wait five days to find out who will be the city’s next mayor working with you on that for years to come? Whether it’s Mike or me, he should be instrumentally involved. Why Thursday and not next Wednesday?” He keeps repeating something about having to move quickly, which we both know is bull****. (Seven years later, when ground zero is still two big holes in the ground, some of his former staffers acknowledge that he was worried that if I won and he subsequently announced an LMDC, he’d have to share responsibility and credit with a Democratic mayor in the eventual reconstruction effort.)

* * * *

It’s November 2, the Friday before the Tuesday general election, and the Daily News is reporting that, at a meeting two weeks before at Nick’s Lobster House in Brooklyn, a few elected officials supporting me openly talked about how to exploit Sharpton’s endorsement of Ferrer in white neighborhoods. Freddy is beside himself. “What will I say to my people?” he tells me in a tense call in my car as I’m leaving Sylvia’s Restaurant with Mayor Dinkins. Ferrer implies that, as a condition of his continued support, I fire the two “Green for Mayor” people at the meeting who he believes were behind the flyers and robo-calls.

I question them—Brooklyn district leader Ralph Perfetto and ACORN head Jon Kest—about their alleged involvement. They adamantly and convincingly deny any such role. An assemblyman at the Nick’s gathering later tells me that State Senator Carl Kruger had indeed urged the group to attack Sharpton but, when Jon refused to go along because “that’s not the campaign Mark wants to run,” Kruger stormed out and promptly endorsed… Ferrer! I call President Clinton off a golf course to ask him to try to calm Freddy down. “Sure, I’ll reach out to him. Do what you have to do to get by this.”

After a meeting of top aides at my home that afternoon, my legal due process genes supersede my political ones—I can’t bring myself to summarily fire and destroy the careers of two people who in fact neither had anything to do with the flyer nor acted improperly at the meeting.

*This article has been corrected to show that the call Green received from Mellman was during the general election, not the runoff.

That night is our Unity Dinner of leading Democrats and celebrities, organized by Harvey Weinstein. Twelve-hundred people cram the Sheraton ballroom in midtown Manhattan to hear emcees Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon joke and host the Clintons, the Cuomos, and nearly all other Democratic luminaries, except one: Ferrer refuses to show. This fiasco dominates the news in the final three days of the general election.

* * * *

Monday, November 3, and I’m on a campaign bus beginning an all-nighter hitting all five boroughs. I feel excited, almost giddy as I joke with UFT president Randi Weingarten and other supporters who rotate on and off the ”Greenmobile.” At 5:45 p.m. I get a call from Schrader: “I just spoke to your pal [Ü ber-publicist] Ken Sunshine, who says that he’s been holed up in The Four Seasons Hotel for the past several hours eating and drinking in a private suite with Weinstein, Sharpton, and Ferrer. They want President Clinton to come over right away to broker a peace between you and Freddy and then hold a late-night press conference with everyone.” Fifteen minutes later, Clinton calls to ask what I want to do, since “it’s your campaign.”

“I want to end my campaign with today’s great Bryant Park event with you and Ted [Kennedy]. That’s the right focus for voters tomorrow, not literally eleventh-hour theatrics with Sharpton.” Clinton decides to go to the hotel to let the group know that a public event won’t happen. But when a scrum of press swarm his car, he keeps going, saying, “I know when I’ve been set up.”

The next morning—Election Day itself—an angry Weinstein switches sides and endorses Bloomberg. In a New Yorker profile after the election, Sharpton compares me to segregationist sheriffs.

* * * *

Election Day morning. Mayor Giuliani, then living in an apartment with two gay friends after his much-publicized breakup with Donna Hanover, sits at breakfast scanning the papers. “Green will win by four,” he authoritatively tells Howard Koeppel.

Election Night. At my campaign suite are several dozen anxious family, friends, pols, and aides, including President Clinton. “Be strong tonight and tomorrow for your father,” he knowingly cautions Jenya, my then-22-year-old daughter and volunteer coordinator.

At 7 p.m. all are guardedly optimistic since exit polls show me two points ahead. At 9:40, assemblyman Denny Farrell hands me tallies showing a lead of some 5,000 votes; at 10:33, it’s even, and I duck out to be alone in an adjacent bedroom to stare vacantly at draft victory and concession statements. By 11:24, I’ve fallen behind by 8,000 in Farrell’s count; when it hits a 15,000 vote deficit near midnight, I ask Detective Al Cooper of my security detail, “Please get me Bloomberg on the phone.”

“Well, Mike, congratulations. You’re an Al Kaline, winning the batting crown in your rookie season.” To which the now mayor-elect replies, “What time will you be conceding?” At 12:15 a.m., my family and I take a freight elevator downstairs to a stage full of party leaders and roomful of 800 shocked and deflated supporters, having lost 50 percent to 48 percent, in the closest mayoral election of the past century. “They got it right,” I announce at the podium, “it’s NOT easy being Green!”

From toast of the town to toast.

Back home at 1:45 a.m., Deni makes chocolate chip cookies for me, Jenya, and Jonah, as recorded by Joe’s video. The next morning, among others, Bill Clinton, Al Franken, and Bob Reich all separately call with, in effect, the same story line: I was so depressed when [respectively] I lost for governor/saw my Stuart Smalley movie flop/left the Labor Secretary office… so hang in there!

A year later Jonah sells his film, Off the Record, to the Sundance Channel. “I guess I should thank you for such an exciting race,” he says, tongue firmly in cheek. “It made for a better film.”

* * * *

^Two days after the election I call Bloomberg to apologize for an ad my campaign ran on the very last Monday quoting from the affidavit of a female Bloomberg LP employee contending that Mike had urged her to have an abortion. “I overreacted to your deluge of negative ads but I still shouldn’t have gone there.” “Yeah, I don’t know what she was talking about,” he replies.

^A year later the mayor invites me to a friendly lunch. Toward the end he says, “You know, I never would have won if Ferrer didn’t have that fight with you.” My loss was Ferrer’s opening. He runs for mayor in 2005, winning the nomination but losing to Mike by nineteen points.

^In 2002, Isaac Abraham, an orthodox Jewish lawyer and pol who represents the family of Yankel Rosenbaum, slain during the Crown Heights riots, proudly tells me that he was part of a local group distributing the Brooklyn flyer. “Why’d you do that?” I ask in exasperation, knowing now the upshot. “Because we hated Sharpton.”

^In mid-2002, D.A. Joe Hynes of Brooklyn opens a criminal investigation of whether “Green for Mayor” campaign funds had been used to finance the printing of those cartoon flyers in Brooklyn—and whether I knew. After two grand juries call campaign staff and vendors over the span of four years, I’ve had quite enough. To my lawyer Richard Emery, I insist on voluntarily meeting with Hynes’s assistant district attorneys to explain under oath that I had no prior knowledge of this that incident and that they should either charge me or clear me. The next day, they release a public statement: “Mark Green had no knowledge of these events, and when he learned of them, he repeatedly denounced the distribution of this literature and sought to find out who had engaged in it.”

^State Senator Carl Kruger is now under indictment for bribery and money laundering.

^The Independence Party endorsed Bloomberg in the election. He got 50,000 votes on that line, or 14,000 more than his 36,000 vote margin of victory. Shortly after the election, New York Sun reporter Ben Smith reported that the mayor contributed $50,000 to Lenora Fulani’s organization, the All Star Players; Gothamist later disclosed that he gave a total of $1.7 million to the party or her organization through 2008.

^People still come over to me on the street and say, “I voted for you four times!” meaning the first primary, the second primary, the runoff, and the general election. That probably never happened before and, hopefully, never will again. And three people have thanked me for saving their lives. How? “I was so excited to help you that morning,” explained one, “that I worked a subway stop in my neighborhood and delayed getting to my office by 8:30 at the 102nd floor of the first World Trade Center… ”

Mark Green is the former Public Advocate for New York City and the author/editor of 22 books, including the best-selling Book on Bush (2004) and Who Runs Congress? (1972). He is currently the host of the nationally syndicated radio program “Both Sides Now w/ Huffington & Matalin.”

G4: Early Favorite

“I’ll think I’ll win, unless there’s some big unexpected event that changes everything.”—Mark Green, to his wife, Deni, September 24, 1999
Illustration by Henry Obasi

Green, Mark