President Obama will be in the city Thursday to push for Wall Street reform, something that has put Mayor Bloomberg and other elected officials in a sticky situation. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg learned about President Barack Obama’s visit to New York Thursday not by phone call but by reading it on a blog.
City officials downplayed it all, but there’s no question Bloomberg has been at odds with the White House over Wall Street reforms, arguing that overregulation could drive away financial firms, draining the city’s tax base.
"We need more people here paying taxes. And when they make money, they pay more taxes. So, you know, we’re on their side," Bloomberg said.
The mayor has emerged as Wall Street’s biggest defender, at a time when his own financial dealings have come under scrutiny.
Financier Steven Rattner continues to play a role managing the mayor’s wealth, despite being at the center of a pay-to-play scandal involving the state pension fund.
And his foundation has reportedly moved hundreds of millions of dollars into off-shore tax havens.
For others, like Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, financial reform has put them in an awkward position politically. Both support reform, but have also been careful not to bash Wall Street, which is not only a major economic engine but also a source of campaign contributions.
"You’re not gonna make everybody happy," Schumer said. "But you have to be guided by what I like to call an internal gyroscope: What’s the right thing to do here? And there are some on the right who say don’t do anything, or do very little. That would let the crisis happen again and the same problems we have today would repeat themselves."
President Obama, on the other hand, is hoping the public push for reform will help overcome Republican opposition in the Senate.
"I think the president will remind the American people and the Senate what we all have at stake as we move forward and hopefully get something passed out of the senate and quickly to his desk," said White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs.
As for not receiving a heads up, the mayor says not all presidential visits are announced via phone call.
"The president comes here a lot, and he doesn’t tell me every time he comes," Bloomberg said. "But we want the president to come here. We want him to bring a lot of people, and spend a lot of money. It’s great visibility for New York.”
Obama’s last big speech in New York City was last September, when he spoke on financial reform at Federal Hall down on Wall Street.
This time, he’s moving out of the lion’s den, about two miles uptown to the historic Cooper Union University in the East Village.
As a result, New Yorkers should expect delays on multiple bus routes in and around the area.
The M1, M2, M3, M8, M9, M14, M21, M101, M102 and M103 bus routes are expected to be delayed or rerouted.
Some subway entrances and exits could also be affected.
The delays and changes are expected to last from approximately 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Straphangers are advised to allow more time for travel.
The president's speech is scheduled to begin just before noon.