Bloomberg: 'What New Yorker report?'
Mayor Michael Bloomberg today refused to confirm a New Yorker report that he "secretly financed a poll by his own longtime pollster, Douglas Schoen, to help convince [police commissioner Ray] Kelly that he could win" the mayoralty.
The poll turned out not to make a difference in terms of Kelly, but its existence is yet another indication that Bloomberg's disaffection with Christine Quinn, an erstwhile ally who has systematically distanced herself from the mayor over the course of the primary, is real.
"I don't know where that came from, and we're here to talk about guns," he told Daily News reporter Erin Durkin, after she asked him about Ken Auletta's article about the mayor. "Let's get serious here."
"Yes, miss?" he said, turning to me.
I said I had been planning to ask him about that same New Yorker report.
"What New Yorker report?" he said. "There's a lot of reports. Can you just be specific. I'd be happy to answer your question."
The report that he underwrote a poll testing the waters for Ray Kelly, I said.
"I just said that we're here to talk about guns," he said. "Let's get serious. I don't know where it came from. I have absolutely no idea where it came from."
The mayor was in fact at One Police Plaza with Kelly to talk about what the mayor described as "the largest gun bust in the city's history," though he was also in the off-topic portion of the press conference.
Here's the Auletta bit about Kelly and Bloomberg:
Early on, the Mayor contemplated endorsing Quinn, calling her “a person of enormous integrity.” He has invited her to join him at press conferences and, at times, to fill in for him at public functions. Some of the Mayor’s friends are convinced that he made a back-room deal with Quinn in 2009, saying that he would endorse her in exchange for her support in amending the City Charter so that he could run a third time. (Both Bloomberg and Quinn have denied any quid pro quo.)
But the relationship between Bloomberg and Quinn is clearly uneasy. Late last year, Bloomberg encouraged several public figures, including Hillary Clinton and the real-estate developer and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman, to run for mayor; they declined. In early June, the Mayor, according to two Bloomberg advisers, was sympathetic to an effort by some of his supporters to draw Ray Kelly into the race. Bloomberg secretly financed a poll by his own longtime pollster, Douglas Schoen, to help convince Kelly that he could win, but Kelly declined.