Mayor Accuses Questioner Of Trying To Start Fight Between He & Quinn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — So did Mayor Michael Bloomberg really try to sway Hillary Clinton to run for mayor next year?

Bloomberg snapped at a reporter who asked that question — which he refused to answer — on Tuesday, 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reported.

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“Why do you think I encouraged Hillary Clinton to run for mayor?  I mean, did you hear me say that?” the mayor retorted.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks Reports

Bloomberg accused reporters of trying to drive a wedge between him and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, widely considered to be the frontrunner in the race.

And a question about whether the mayor was dissatisfied with the current crop of candidates was what really set the mayor off.

“We just answered that question.  I dunno who’s going to run, but if you wanna start a fight between me and Chris Quinn, you’re not gonna do it.  It’s cheap, lousy journalism,” Bloomberg told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb With More On The Story

In a Quinnipiac poll last month, Quinn was found with a huge lead among those who are seen as candidates in the race, ranking well ahead of former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and current City Comptroller John Liu.

Those in the political world regarded Bloomberg’s apparent phone call to be not a very nice way to say thanks to Quinn, who lassoed  the votes to give the mayor a third term.

“The message this sends to anybody running for mayor is well Mike Bloomberg might like somebody else and it’s not any one of you,” political consultant Hank Sheinkoph told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

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Bloomberg took the opportunity Tuesday to praise Quinn, who Bloomberg said had made “an enormous difference in this city.”

“This administration I think has been phenomenally successful. I take great pride in it, [it] would not have happened without Chris Quinn being the Speaker of the City Council for the last eight years and let’s leave the subject at that,” Bloomberg said.

It was as close as Bloomberg has come to endorsing a candidate for mayor without actually endorsing one.

On Monday, published reports indicated that Bloomberg had encouraged former First Lady Clinton to enter the 2013 mayoral race.  Those reports also said that Clinton indicated that she was not interested in the job.

There was, however, no official word on whether Clinton wants to run New York City.  A Clinton spokesman told CBS 2’s Kramer “we don’t ever get into her private conversations.”

Quinn has not formally announced her candidacy for mayor, but it is widely believed she will enter the race.

Bloomberg called Quinn a “leader” on Tuesday and added he has “nothing but respect for her.”

When another reporter asked Quinn about the former First Lady being a good fit as mayor, the speaker responded “I think Hillary Clinton would excel in any position she ever takes.”

Quinn called Clinton one of the “greatest senators we’ve ever had” and an “unbelievable” Secretary of State.

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Do you think Hillary Clinton would make a good mayor?  Who are you supporting in the race?  Share your thoughts below…