Sunday, December 21, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: Mayor Grumbletones Gets Cranky

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Mayor Bloomberg is getting tired of all these annoying reporters.

At an event that was about the city's improving air quality on Thursday, members of the fourth estate also dared to ask Hizzoner about the quality of the rhetorical air in the race to succeed him.

Tired of getting questions about the next mayor, the current mayor blew his top, even threatening to stop holding press conferences.

"I'm not running, so I don't know how, I don't understand what kind of an answer you expect me to give,'' snapped Bloomberg.

This is an unusual problem for an incumbent mayor to have when he's leaving office. Typically, a mayor is either defeated at the polls in a general election or embraces his party's nominee as his successor. But because Bloomberg isn't enrolled in any political party, he has no easy pick for his successor. You have to go back 40 years to find a similar situation when John Lindsay didn't back any of the four candidates who were fighting to succeed him in November.

But like Lindsay in 1973, it's questionable whether Bloomberg's endorsement would do more harm than good. A Marist poll earlier this month had his approval rating down to 42 percent, a two-year low. While hardly horrible for a 12-year incumbent, that rating shows that an endorsement could have a boomerang effect.

At least on the Democratic side of things, Bloomberg seems to be the dirty word on the campaign trail. Witness this week's public advocate debate, where the two candidates tried to anti-Bloomberg each other.

And the few times that the mayor has opined about the campaign have been semi-disastrous. His interview with New York magazine turned into a mess after he accused Bill de Blasio of trying to capitalize on his family's multi-racial identity.

While Bloomberg is no fan of de Blasio, he's probably still angry at GOP candidate Joe Lhota for saying the mayor was acting "like an idiot" by making some predictions last year about the recovery of the mass-transit system in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

So it's understandable that Bloomberg doesn't want to talk politics in public, but it might make more sense for him to speak softly about the mayor's race – rather than be remembered as the man who growled and sighed his way out of City Hall.

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