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Bloomberg: ‘I Fought The Battle’ To Hold Marathon As Planned

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Maurice DuBois

Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks with CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois for his first one-on-one interview since Superstorm Sandy. (Credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg told CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois Saturday morning that going ahead with the New York Marathon on Sunday was a perfectly realistic option, but the issue had just become too divisive to be worth it.

“I still think that we had the resources to do both, and that we want people to take a break and that sort of thing. There are lots of people in this city – some hurt, some not. It’s a big part of our economy,” Bloomberg told DuBois in an exclusive interview – his first one-on-one since Superstorm Sandy. “But it was just becoming so divisive that whether it’s a good idea or not, we just don’t need the distraction.”

People came to town from all of the world from the Marathon, and Bloomberg said he “fought the battle” on their behalf.

He said he would tell them: “I’m sorry. I fought the battle, and sometimes things don’t work out.”

Bloomberg had come under fire pressing ahead with the weekend’s event in a city still reeling from Superstorm Sandy, with some New Yorkers and many public figures saying that holding the 26.2-mile race would be insensitive and would divert police and other important resources while many are still suffering.

ING, the marathon’s title sponsor, said Friday that it supported the city’s decision.

“While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division,” ING said on its Web site. “We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this — to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to help New York City recover from the storm.”

The financial institution said it made a $500,000 contribution to Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City for immediate and long-term disaster relief and recovery. They will also be matching employee contributions to relief efforts.

During Bloomberg’s conversation with DuBois, some angry storm victims addressed him in Queens, demanding answers about his response to the storm.

Bloomberg’s entire interview with DuBois can be seen Saturday at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.

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