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Kiss-Kiss Controversy

Bloomberg switches to two-cheek Eurosmooch; pols divided on meaning.

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Our billionaire mayor has always struggled with his man-of-the-people cred, which is why some Bloomberg watchers were shocked New Year’s Day when he kissed the state’s top judge, Judith Kaye, among others, on both cheeks, in a blatant display of European greeting habits. This was an osculatory departure from his 2002 swearing-in, when, video reveals, Bloomberg opted for the more mainstream single-cheek smooch. “It’s elitist,” tut-tutted one attendee. And it’s part of a larger kissing pattern for the mayor: At a holiday press dinner a few days earlier, one City Hall reporter panicked when confronted with the puckering mayor. “You don’t know what to do,” she confesses. “Is he gonna give you one cheek? Two? The last thing you want is to get stuck in the middle.” But Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, a double-kisser herself, defended the mayor. “It’s a sign of warmth. In my culture—Wasps—you don’t get that very often.” A mayoral spokesperson says he hadn’t noticed the change.

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