NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ed Koch was a major player on the New York political stage for almost 50 years, winning friends and gaining foes and sometimes turning the one into the other.
Koch left office 24 years ago, but politicians never stopped seeking his advice and his endorsement, which he gave three times to the current occupant of City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.
“When we were down, Ed Koch picked us up. When we were worried, he gave us confidence. When someone needed a good kick in the rear, he gave it to them, and if you remember, he enjoyed it!” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg recalled Koch as someone who spoke his mind and didn’t mind rocking the boat. Like in 1993, when Koch endorsed Republican Rudy Giuliani over incumbent Democrat David Dinkins.
“David Dinkins doesn’t have a clue on how to run this city,” Koch said.
“I guess he can’t get over the fact that I defeated him as he sought a fourth term,” Dinkins said.
That was then. Today, Dinkins speaks kindly of Koch.
“We did not always agree, but I never had any reason to doubt his sincerity and there is something to be said for candor,” Dinkins said.
Koch was indeed candid and maybe a little fickle.
After helping elect Giuliani he turned on him — even writing a book called “Giuliani – Nasty Man.” “Gonna miss his personality, sometimes miss even his offensive comments, because he was so honest!” Giuliani said.
As a young political operative, Andrew Cuomo battled Koch in 1982 when his father Mario faced off in a bruising Democratic gubernatorial primary against Koch.
“I’ve was with him, I was against him and it was better to be with him,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
Koch was friendly with many Republicans and in 2004, Koch endorsed George W. Bush.
Koch also “crossed party lines” so to speak in his close relationship with the late Cardinal John O’Connor and lifelong affection for the Catholic church.
“He would tease me, he would wink and say ‘You know Cardinal Dolan, at midnight mass, I’m the Jew in the front pew,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan said.
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