Michael Bloomberg, Mayor-elect of New York City

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This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 19, 2001.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: He spent $60 million out of his own pocket to become mayor of New York City. But what the feisty self-made billionaire, Michael Bloomberg, does now is anyone's guess.

In a wide-ranging, no-holds-barred interview, Mr. Bloomberg reveals a very different sort of style coming to Gracie Mansion. In itself, ironic, since Bloomberg doesn't even plan on living at the famed mayor's estate. It's just part of what makes New York's mayor-elect so unique. The businessman who made good, where others have lost fortunes trying.

That's where we kicked things off this morning on how Bloomberg got here in the first place.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR-ELECT, NEW YORK CITY: The public is smarter than just being partisan. It's the insiders that think that partisan politics is what matters. The public just says who's the person that can take us through the problems that they perceive coming up. And I thought from the beginning that my experience was the right experience for this time. In terms of being the first time, you know, everybody has got to go sometime. I mean, why not?

CAVUTO: But, you must have looked at other very wealthy individuals who tried for office, from Ross Perot to Huffington in California, and thought, "Geez, you know..."


CAVUTO: There's a chartered landscape there.

BLOOMBERG: When people criticized me for spending my own money, I said every time: Look, if you look at the record three-quarters of people who are wealthy and spend their own money don't win, but I don't think it has anything to do with the money. It is if you are not a good candidate, you can't win.

Money just gets you access. And if you're not a good candidate, the more money you spend, the more people see that you don't have it. On the other hand, if you are a good candidate, then it does help.

CAVUTO: You've addressed this a number of times, the Giuliani endorsement, how important?

BLOOMBERG: I'm sure you wouldn't have won without it. Rudy has done a spectacular job. What's always annoyed me about Rudy's popularity is I think he's deserved it for eight years and everybody else focuses on just since September 11, when he did a great job.

But the hardest part for Rudy must have been the eight years, or 7.9 years, when nobody was in his corner, when he had to fight against everybody all the time. And that is what leadership is all about, standing there and having the courage of your convictions, not letting constant criticism turn you away from what you think is right.

CAVUTO: You are inheriting the most monstrous conditions ever inherited by a public official, save maybe Franklin Roosevelt. How do you feel about that?

BLOOMBERG: Well, number one, I still think that America and New York are the greatest places in the world, that we have a short term problem — you're right — but long-term, I'd still rather have New York's hand to play than any other.

This is the center of commerce. It's the financial center, entertainment center, media center. This is the place you want to be, long term. So we have got to get through the short-term problems. And everybody will pull together. I mean, there are an awful lot of the positives, yes, to daunting tasks but that just means it's a greater challenge for everybody, not just for me. This problem is going to be solved by a quarter of a million people, at the very — the smallest number. That is the people that work for this city that I work with. They don't work for me. I work with them. And...

CAVUTO: But that alone is a big difference that you aren't used to, right. I mean, you are used to being the guy in charge, you call the shots...

BLOOMBERG: No, no, I have 8,000 people at Bloomberg, the company, that I work with. They don't work for me. I work with them. And that is why we have been successful. And you can do the same thing...

CAVUTO: Is it harder in a public world, though? I mean...

BLOOMBERG: It's different. I don't know that it's harder. It has some advantages and some disadvantages.

In the case of the city, the bureaucracy has been here a long time. That's both good and bad. But you have got to remember, every morning, you throw the light switch, the light comes on. You turn the faucet, the water comes on and you go to work, your kid goes to school. Most things in this city work and it's because of those great quarter of a million people. That's a heck of an asset for a new manager to come in and to have. I'd rather have that tool than anything else.

CAVUTO: A lot of the people who worked for you in the private sector, Mr. Bloomberg, are fiercely loyal. And they say there is something, a gift you have, to rally the troops or to be a good cheerleader, for want of a better word. Are you going to marshal those resources as mayor and would you, for example, hold daily press conferences much as Mayor Giuliani has?

BLOOMBERG: I will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to rally the troops, if you will. I think that the reason I have had great success in the private sector is that loyalty works both ways. My job is to take care of them. Their job is to give me the wherewithal to do that. We are in it together. And, at least, for 20 years and 8,000 people around the world, we have done that.

Can I do it with a quarter of a million, mostly here in New York City, I think so. And I am going to do exactly the same thing. You treat people well, they treat you well. In terms of the press conferences, I know the mayor has had one almost every day. I've said I think that's a bit much, but maybe I'll see. The press people say I will quickly get into one a day.

CAVUTO: Do you want to get into one a day?

BLOOMBERG: I don't have any objections to it. I just want to make sure — my job is not to sit there and just get publicity for myself. My job is to sit there and try to run the city.

And so, one of the things you will see if we have press conferences, they will be spread around this city. I joked one time about moving the press corps to Staten Island. That's not the world's worst idea. If the press corps spent one day a week in a different borough each week, they would know a lot more about this city and about the people. They always write about a very small subset of our eight million people. And we have the most diverse city in the world. All these people have different needs and live in different situations and have different aspirations.

CAVUTO: But it sounds to me, sir, that you wouldn't be the kind of mayor who's out in front of the cameras every day, updating us on the latest — whatever.

BLOOMBERG: Well, I will make sure that the press does gets that information. I think I would probably have commissioners and deputy mayors out there doing that a lot, but I will be there. I certainly have no objections talking to the press every day. I just think that the mayor's job is a very complex one, takes a lot of time, and I want to focus on the things that are most important and I will certainly have press conferences many times a week.


All right, Michael Bloomberg.

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