Backlash Eases In Wake Of Bloomberg Outburst
A day after Mayor Michael Bloomberg was accused of likening some Democratic State Senators to the leader of the Nazis, the uproar is starting to subside. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
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Things seem to be cooling off for Mayor Bloomberg, after some damage control managed to keep the backlash over his remarks from spreading.
"The mayor called, his people spoke to us last night, and you know, we decided to give the mayor the benefit of the doubt," said State Assemblyman Dov Hikind.
Hikind and City Councilman Bill de Blasio had planned to blast the mayor at a press conference on Tuesday, charging that the mayor had compared his critics to Nazis. But the officials said they decided to pull the plug after a personal phone call from Bloomberg.
Whether or not the mayor actually made the comparison has been hotly debated. When NY1 asked the mayor whether he compared the State Senators to Nazis, the mayor said he certainly did. But a spokesman for the mayor says Bloomberg didn't hear the question and denies the comparison.
The mayor's chief Democratic rival, however, says he isn't buying it.
"It appears as if he knew exactly what the question was," said City Comptroller William Thompson.
The explanation from City Hall didn't stop officials from taking the mayor to task.
On his radio show, the mayor invoked former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain when explaining why he didn't think it made sense to negotiate with the State Senate. Chamberlain infamously tried to appease the Nazis before World War II.
"The whole thing with Chamberlain was out of order. It should not have been used," said Hikind.
"It's a very loaded phrase. It conjures up very strong images, very strong feelings. It's not a good analogy to make," said de Blasio.
"The danger is that words that are powerful that accuse people of the worst sort of crime - Nazism, Stalinism and so on, ought to be reserved for people in that league of evil," said Marc Stern of the American Jewish Congress.
While the dispute may be loosing momentum, another one is still going strong -- the future of mayoral control of the city schools, which is the very issue that triggered the whole outburst in the first place.