Friday, May 29, 2009

Speaking to Reporters, Bloomberg Calls One a ‘Disgrace’ by Michael Barbaro- and YouTube Video by Azi Paybarah - NY Observer

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Michael Bloomberg discussing the economy and term limits, during a May 28, 2009 press conference in Queens. Azi Paybarah

Since announcing his third term bid, he has publicly scolded a blogger in a wheelchair for accidentally turning on a tape recorder during a news conference. He called a question about his spending “ridiculous.” And he labeled an inquiry about a political rival a “waste” of a question.

But on Thursday, he seemed to reach new heights of peevishness, calling a reporter who posed a question he did not like “a disgrace.”

At a news conference in Queens, Azi Paybarah, a reporter for The New York Observer, asked the mayor whether an improving economy would undercut his reasoning for seeking a third term. Mr. Bloomberg had argued, during the battle over term limits, that tough times required his steady hand and business background.

Yet at the Queens news conference, Mr. Bloomberg said he was “very optimistic” about New York’s economy. (Thus Mr. Paybarah’s question.)

Mr. Bloomberg cut off Mr. Paybarah midsentence, saying that “the rationale for extending term limits is, the City Council passed it, and the public’s going to have a chance on Nov. 3 to say what they want.”

“I don’t think we have to keep coming back to that,” he said, adding, “When you have a serious question about the economy, I’d be happy to answer it.”

With that, the mayor concluded the news conference, thanked the audience, stepped away from a microphone and looked directly at Mr. Paybarah. “You’re a disgrace,” he snarled, nearly under his breath, but just loud enough to be captured by reporters’ tape recorders.

After receiving inquires from reporters, a spokesman for the mayor, Stu Loeser said: “The mayor asked me to pass along his apologies to Azi for the comment after the press conference, which I did.”