Mayor Mike on the Subway

Edward Reed

Mayor Bloomberg after leaving City Hall on his last day in office, December 31, 2013.

For four thousand, three hundred and eighty days, Michael Bloomberg stood in a more intense media spotlight than just about anyone else on Earth. He was a local official, and therefore expected to subject himself regularly to questioning by the press. But he also presided over a city larger than 38 states and more than a few countries, meaning those questions came attached to very high stakes.

And so, New Yorkers learned things about the mayor: That he was willing to take courageous stands in the name of public health, like the smoking ban, or on matters of principle, like the “Ground Zero mosque.” That he could be more than a little peevish with the press, especially when they used a word he didn’t understand or had trouble shutting off their tape recorder because they were disabled. That his Eastern Massachusetts roots were still present in the way he pronounced the word “can’t” (“cahn’t”).

There were things we thought we knew, like the idea that he would remove himself from the operation of his company while serving as mayor, that it turned out we didn’t know. There were things the mayor wanted us to know, like the notion that he was an expert manager, that seemed contradicted by other things we knew about, like CityTime, Cathy Black, that 2010 snowstorm, 911 modernization and Superstorm Sandy.

And there were things we never learned, like what he did on those weekends when he left the city (which were many, many weekends) to his island getaway.

Now that Bloomberg is running for president, and running fairly well thanks to his enormous bank account and assumed electability, the lessons New Yorkers learned about him could be valuable to voters around the country. And the things we never really learned, or failed to understand at the time, could be crucial to whether he can win–in the primaries and in November–and how he would govern.

On Wednesday, Spectrum News political director Bob Hardt and former New York Times editorial board member Eleanor Randolph, who published a biography of the former mayor last fall, joined the Max & Murphy Show on WBAI to discuss lessons learned and questions outstanding about the business titan, philanthropist and three-term city leader.

Listen below, and join us on Wednesday, February 26, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 4:30) at Commons Cafe, 388 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, for a special live-audience, extended episode of Max & Murphy featuring surrogates from Democratic presidential campaigns talking about how their candidates would handle the issues that matter most to New York.

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