- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 6, 2001

NEW YORK Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire baron of a financial news empire, has begun his mayoral campaign in a television ad, saying that he wants to preserve the legacy of Rudolph W. Giuliani and not go back to politics as usual.
"My names Mike Bloomberg and Im running for mayor to build on whats been accomplished, not tear it down," Mr. Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat until last year, said in New York-accented tones in a 60-second political commercial running on four local television stations and in a 30-second version broadcast on the Spanish-language channel.
While he has given every sign of embarking on a run for mayor in the last few months including hiring an army of consultants and pollsters Mr. Bloomberg chose to make his official announcement through a campaign ad rather than the traditional method of calling a news conference. This choice was not surprising to most political observers. The founder of the worldwide Bloomberg LP media company has for the most part shied away from the normal give-and-take between political candidates and reporters, choosing to select his time and place for rare interviews.
Political analysts give him almost no chance of winning, but the 59-year-old tycoon does have the support of Mr. Giuliani, who in his two terms as mayor presided over record-breaking decreases in crime and is credited with an improved quality of life in the city.
"Together well keep making progress on crime," says Mr. Bloomberg in the commercial, "and If we bring the same energy and the same focus that made our streets safer and use it to improve public schools and public health care, this great city will be even better."
Mr. Bloomberg, born in Massachusetts, will face one of four veteran albeit non-charismatic Democrats, who have already mounted their attacks on him. Candidate Mark Green, the citys public advocate, critical of Mr. Bloomberg for his lack of political experience, said yesterday, "Why would he enter a party that is against womens right to choose, that is for more guns on our streets, that is for cutting funds to reduce class size in New York?" He posed the question in a letter to the Republican candidate and in interviews.
Labeling the charges a sign of desperation, a Bloomberg spokesman said the financial wizard is "pro-choice."
While the Democrats have targeted Mr. Bloomberg as a political novice, the mayor continues to defend him as a qualified candidate. "Hes run a very, very successful business. Hes been innovative in the way hes run that business, and he has a lot of management experience," said Mr. Giuliani.
Before he runs against a Democrat, Mr. Bloomberg may face a Republican primary in September. Former Democratic Rep. Herman Badillo, a close ally of Mr. Giuliani, said he is planning to run as a Republican.
Donations to the campaign will reportedly be turned away since the media mogul has already said he will finance the campaign from his own personal fortune, estimated at between $2 billion and $4 billion. If elected, he added, he will only take a $1 salary. On the Bloomberg Web site opened yesterday there are no calls for campaign donations, only for workers.
In addition to his lack of political experience, Mr. Bloomberg may have to answer more questions about the three sex-discrimination lawsuits filed against him by former employees. Two were dismissed and one, charging that he encouraged "the general degradation of women," was settled out of court.


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