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Entries in Michael Bloomberg (13)

Sunday
Mar242013

Bloomberg, NRA Brace for Showdown on Guns in Senate

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With the Senate slated to consider comprehensive gun legislation next month, two powerful voices on different sides of the gun debate - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre – are bracing for the upcoming legislative showdown on guns.

Bloomberg’s gun group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, announced this weekend that it will pour $12 million into advertising in 13 key states to convince potentially persuadable Democratic and Republican senators to vote in favor of gun legislation, specifically focusing on the controversial universal background checks – a measure that an ABC News/Washington Post poll found is supported by 91 percent of the public.

"We're trying to do everything we can to impress upon the senators that this is what the survivors want, this is what the public wants," Bloomberg said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.  "If 90 percent of the public want something, and their representatives vote against that, common sense says, they are going to have a price to pay for that."

The two TV ads, titled “Responsibility” and “Family,” feature a hunter sitting on the bed of a pick-up truck with a hunting rifle across his lap while children play on a tire swing in the background as he argues for universal background checks.

“For me, guns are for hunting and protecting my family.  I believe in the second amendment and I’ll fight to protect it but with rights come responsibility. That’s why I’m for comprehensive background checks so criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can’t buy guns.  That protects my rights and my family,” the man says in one ad.

The ads will target Republican and Democratic senators in Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  

But Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, dismissed Bloomberg’s ad buy Sunday and called the New York City mayor’s positions on guns “reckless” and “insane.”

"He can't spend enough of his $27 billion to impose his will on the American people," LaPierre said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday.  "They don’t want him in their restaurants. They don’t want him in their homes. They don’t want him telling what food to eat. They sure don’t want him telling what self-defense firearms to own. He can’t buy America.”

The Senate will consider a comprehensive gun package when it returns from the holiday recess next month.  For many Republicans and moderate Democrats, the universal background check requirement, which LaPierre called “a speed bump for the law-abiding,” is the sticking point in the package.

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the controversial assault weapons ban would not be included as part of the package. Instead, it will receive a vote as an amendment but is not expected to receive approval from the full Senate.

Despite the measure not making it into the comprehensive plan, Bloomberg stood behind the assault weapons ban while acknowledging the measure is “difficult” for some lawmakers to sign onto.

“I don't think there's ever been an issue where the public has spoken so clearly, where Congress hasn't eventually understood and done the right thing,” Bloomberg said.  “We have a lot of work ahead of us. I don't think we should give up on the assault weapons ban. But clearly it is a more difficult issue for a lot of people.”

President Obama urged lawmakers to thoroughly consider all of the gun measures that have been presented in the Senate, including the assault weapons ban, in his weekly address Saturday.

“These ideas shouldn’t be controversial – they’re common sense.  They’re supported by a majority of the American people.  And I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote,” the president said.

“Right now, we have a real chance to reduce gun violence in America, and prevent the very worst violence.  We have a unique opportunity to reaffirm our tradition of responsible gun ownership, and also do more to keep guns out of the hands of criminals or people with a severe mental illness,” he said. “We’ve made progress over the last three months, but we’re not there yet.  And in the weeks ahead, I hope members of Congress will join me in finishing the job – for our communities and, most importantly, for our kids.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb272013

Bloomberg Tells White House ‘Spare Me’ on Budget Cuts Scare

Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a message for the White House about the dire warnings they keep issuing about looming spending cuts: “Spare me.”

“There’s a lot of posturing — ‘I’m going to lay off my employees today unless you do something. We’re going to close the hospitals down. We going to take all the prisoners from jail and put them on the street.'  Spare me. I live in that world. I mean come on,” Bloomberg said, mocking the warnings coming from the administration.

He’s the mayor of the largest city, but Bloomberg says he’s not overly worried about across-the-board spending cuts known as the “sequester” set to go into effect on Friday.

“On Monday we’ll be able to police the streets, there will be a fire engine that responds, an ambulance, teachers will be in front of the classroom. If there’s snow, we’ll be able to plow,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg was speaking to reporters at the White House immediately after meeting with Vice President Biden to discuss gun control.

On Monday, the White House issued a report on how the cuts will affect each state. For New York, the White House warned the cuts would jeopardize clean water, security and public health while forcing thousands of children out of childcare and Head Start.

Although he finds the warnings overblown, Bloomberg said he doesn’t like the so-called “sequester” cuts. Instead of using a “meat cleaver” to cut federal spending, he said the president and Congress should come together to control the costs of the big entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

“It’s not good for the country,” Bloomberg said of the current budget impasse. “We need to have the White House, the Republicans, and Democrats, and Congress come together and intelligently find a way to reduce the deficit, but not with a meat axe. It needs to be carefully thought out.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb262013

Bloomberg’s Super PAC Anti-Gun Ad Makes Waves in Ill. Special Election

Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has lent his voice and money to have some say in which Democrat replaces former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., the son of civil rights icon Jesse Jackson, in Tuesday's special election.

The front-runners in Tuesday’s primary in Illinois' 2nd District are Robin Kelly, a former state representative, and former Rep. Debbie Halvorson. Kelly recently snapped up Bloomberg’s endorsement and financial backing through his super PAC Independence USA. Bloomberg donated close to $10 million to the super PAC last year, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Jackson, who pleaded guilty last week in a D.C. federal court to one felony fraud count related to improper use of campaign funds, won re-election last November but resigned, citing his health and the investigation into his campaign finances as reasons.

Halvorson is the only white candidate in the majority African-American district, which includes Chicago’s South Side. Several Democrats initially stepped up to run for the seat following Jackson’s resignation, but many withdrew and threw their support to the current candidates.

Chicago’s epidemic of gun violence has been a top issue in the campaign. Ads have sought to paint Halvorson, who challenged Jackson in a 2012 Democratic primary for his congressional seat, in a negative light.

An ad made by Independence USA, the super PAC created by Bloomberg, an independent, has attacked Halvorson for her support of gun rights.

“Debbie Halvorson, when it comes to preventing gun violence, she gets an F,” the ad says.
The ad further warns to “watch out” for Halvorson, saying she is against banning deadly assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, and that she also co-sponsored a bill to allow felons to take “loaded, hidden guns across state lines.”

“If you can tell me that banning another gun will go after the criminals, I’d be all for it,” Halvorson told The Hill Monday. “I’d be for anything that stopped the killing and gets guns out of the hands of criminals, but it won’t work. [Chicago's] Cook County has had an assault weapons ban since 1993, and they have the highest murder rate in the country.”

Halvorson was one of the few Democrats endorsed by the National Rifle Association in 2010.

A spokesman for Halvorson’s campaign said the ad had actually backfired on the super PAC.

“Initially, it was a shell shock,” said Sean Howard, a spokesman for Halvorson’s campaign. “But we had 70 African-American ministers call for Bloomberg to have the ad removed....These ministers find it distasteful and racist, and thought its tone was dangerous and appalling.”

But the ad stayed. A representative from Independence USA said the ad expressed Bloomberg’s staunch support for Kelly.

“The mayor has been clear for his entire time in office. He wants commonsense reforms that keep guns out of hands of criminals,” said Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for Independence USA. “There is no doubt there has been a surge of gun violence around Chicago. Robin Kelly has been aggressively pushing for gun reform measures – we believe this is the right way to go.”

Halvorson, however, remains confident, said Howard.

“Given that we have a dangerous snowstorm here today, turnout will be dangerously low,” Howard said. “[Debbie] was phone banking all last night....We are cautiously optimistic.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan142013

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley Backs Gun Control Bill

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced on Monday that he will bring legislation to his state’s legislature that would become one of the nation’s most expansive responses to last month’s tragic school shooting in Connecticut.

Among the more sweeping proposals would be a requirement for most prospective gun buyers to provide fingerprints to state police, undergo a background check and complete a mandatory gun-safety course in order to obtain an owners permit.

Buyers of shotguns and hunting rifles would be exempt from the measure.  Currently, only Maryland residents seeking a concealed-carry permit must submit their fingerprints.

Speaking before a two-day gun violence summit at Johns Hopkins University, O’Malley said the proposals, which will include an assault weapons ban, were an attempt to cure what he called the “sickness in this country” of violent crimes with firearms.

“It makes absolutely no sense when you look at the level of carnage on our streets from guns to blame every factor but guns,” he said.  “If we are to have a comprehensive approach then let us be comprehensive.”

Maryland’s Democratic-controlled legislature is likely to pass the proposals, which will also address high-capacity magazines by halving the maximum number of bullets allowed in clips to 10.

O’Malley said such weapons “have no place on the streets of Baltimore or in any other neighborhood in our state.”

The bill will include measures seeking to ban sales to residents with mental illness that have shown violent tendencies, but avoids the National Rifle Association’s call for armed guards in all schools.  Instead, it would allocate a $25 million fund to improve school safety in the form of auto-locking doors and mandatory guest check-in requirements, among others items.

Johns Hopkins’ summit was timed to begin one month to the hour from when Adam Lanza killed 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., using a Bushmaster .223 assault-style rifle.

“Perhaps there is no way to completely prevent the next Newtown tragedy, but then again perhaps there is.  None of us can predict the future,” O’Malley continued.  “And yet we know every life is valuable.”

If the measure is signed into law, Maryland will join New York and other Democratic-controlled states in an active push for restricting gun rights and other measures in the wake of the Newtown shooting.  

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined O’Malley at Johns Hopkins to continue his own push for reform at a national level -- including universal background checks for all gun sales.

A July CNN poll reported 96 of every hundred Americans supported universal background checks for all gun purchases, regardless of origin.  An estimated 40 percent of gun sales in the U.S. take place without a background check, according to statistics compiled by the Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence.

“There’s really no debate here, it’s common sense,” Bloomberg said.

Last week, Bloomberg told reporters that his office had been advising a task force led by Vice President Joe Biden on a federal response to gun violence.  That group, which has held working meetings with law enforcement officials, media representatives and mental health advocates, is expected to release its findings on Tuesday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan072013

Bloomberg Working with Biden’s Task Force on Gun Control

The City of New York(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the country’s most outspoken proponents of new gun laws, told reporters Monday his office is advising Vice President Joe Biden’s task force on gun control legislation.

“We sent some of our people down to Washington, and we had some people on the phone to give Joe Biden our ideas,” Bloomberg said at a press conference in New York City Monday morning.

A spokesman for Bloomberg confirmed the New York City mayor has spoken with Biden about gun legislation since the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Bloomberg is promoting a number of legislative and executive initiatives to develop new gun laws.   He is calling for legislation that would require criminal background checks on all gun sales, limit high capacity magazines and “military style assault” weapons, and make gun trafficking a felony.

On the executive side, Bloomberg is pushing for President Obama to make a recess appointment for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, for the Department of Justice to prosecute people who have failed background checks due to lying, and for the president to order all federal agencies to send data to a national background check database.

In the wake of the massacre that left 20 children and seven adults dead in Newtown, Conn., last month, Obama appointed Biden to spearhead efforts to craft recommendations for gun legislation.

The Washington Post reported this weekend that Biden’s task force is “seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors.”

Bloomberg Monday expressed confidence that Biden will develop a package of recommendations that will help curb gun violence.

“I think all of us know that Joe Biden is not a shrinking violet, particularly when it comes to crime and the gun problem in this country and the number of murders,” Bloomberg said. “I think what we’ve got to do to first is try to do everything we can to help Joe Biden.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov012012

Biden Says Bloomberg’s Endorsement Resonates as Call for Unity

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(FT. DODGE, Iowa) – Hours after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his support of President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden cited Bloomberg’s endorsement as a call for the country to unite together, regardless of political affiliation.

“When Mayor Bloomberg did his announcement today in support of our ticket, the essence of what he said, the essence of what he said was, 'We’ve got to work together. We’ve all got to be in this together. We’ve got to stop this … blue and red. We’re a purple nation, man. We’re made of Democrats, and, we really are,'” Biden said at the Fort Dodge Museum Opera House in Iowa.

Bloomberg, who identifies as an independent, made his endorsement Thursday afternoon via an op-ed on his personal website, citing climate change as the reason for his support.

“Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be – given this week’s devastation – should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action,” Bloomberg said.

Biden has had kind words to say about Bloomberg in recent days as the New York mayor leads relief efforts in his city in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. In Ocala, Fla. Wednesday, Biden noted that Bloomberg “is one hell of a guy.”

The vice president said he spoke to President Obama Thursday about Bloomberg’s endorsement, saying, “a good friend of mine and ours was going to endorse us today, and he did.” Biden told the crowd President Obama was campaigning in Nevada Thursday but always kept his mind on Iowa, the place which launched his presidential career.

“We’re criss-crossing the country, but he sent his love and affection. He knows he’s president of the United States because of the state of Iowa,” Biden said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan202012

Bloomberg Would ‘Welcome’ Obama Stepping Up on Gay Marriage

The City of New York(NEW YORK) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he would “welcome” a stronger effort by President Obama to argue in favor of gay marriage.

Obama has said his views on gay marriage are “evolving,” and he has not explicitly endorsed it. His administration has said it will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

“I would welcome the president to speak out on this,” Bloomberg said in response to a question from ABC News at a press conference with more than a dozen other mayors who were advocating for marriage equality.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told ABC News after the presser that “you always welcome support on big issues” from Obama. But he said Obama hasn’t fallen short of calling for fairness.

“Everyone should be allowed to have their positions evolve as they see fit,” Nutter said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec212011

Poll: Challenges for Paul, Trump, Bloomberg in Third Party Candidacy

Alex Wong/Getty Images | ABC/Ida Mae Astute | The City of New York(NEW YORK) --  It won’t be easy for the three top-mentioned possibilities -- Ron Paul, Donald Trump and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- to undertake the task of mounting a third-party candidacy for president.  The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that each would have significant challenges were he to do so.

Americans divide evenly in basic favorable versus unfavorable views of Paul -- unchanged from last month -- and Paul faces serious questions even in his own party both on his personal qualifications and the policies he’d pursue if elected.

Trump, while more popular than Paul among Republicans, and the best known of the three, is the least popular overall.  More Americans view him unfavorably than favorably, by 48 percent to 40 percent.

Bloomberg is much less known -- 44 percent of Americans haven’t formed an opinion of him -- and, like Paul, gets just an even split among those who have. He’s most popular among liberal Democrats, a group that comprises only 12 percent of the public overall.

That’s not to say third-party candidates can’t have an impact in the upcoming election. In an ABC/Post poll released earlier this week, Mitt Romney and President Obama were dead even among registered voters, 47-47 percent. But when Paul was added as a theoretical independent candidate, he pulled 21 percent support, siphoned mostly from Romney, putting Obama 10 points ahead.

Third-party candidacies often arise in times of economic discontent, and that certainly applies to current times. In an expression of discontent with the major parties, more Americans have identified themselves as independents than as either Democrats or Republicans for nearly two-and-a-half years -- the longest run of its kind since ABC/Post polling started in 1981.

That said, an ABC/Post poll completed on Oct. 30 found interest in a nonparty candidate to be broad but not deep. Sixty-one percent responded favorably to the idea, but far fewer, 25 percent, endorsed it strongly.

Doing well takes a popular candidate, and as noted, Paul, Trump and Bloomberg all have challenges.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov222011

Michael Bloomberg Slams Obama for Failed Supercommittee

The City of New York(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday that the failure of the supercommittee is a “damning indictment of Washington’s inability to govern” and blamed President Obama in part for the breakdown of the debt talks.

“It’s the chief executive’s job to bring people together and to provide leadership in difficult situations.  I don’t see that happening,” Bloomberg said at a news conference.  “The failure of the committee will mean that thousands of jobs that would have been created will just go without being created.  And thousands of men and women who would have gotten back to work will remain unemployed.”

Bloomberg, who has been rumored as a potential third-party candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, criticized both parties for their lack of action.

“I think it’s a failure, you know people say, who do you blame?  The blame is both sides of the aisle and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said.

The White House has defended the president’s engagement with the supercommittee.

“This committee was established by an act of Congress . It was comprised of members of Congress.  Instead of pointing fingers and playing the blame game, Congress should act, fulfill its responsibility,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun152011

Bloomberg: 'National Suicide' to Not Fix Immigration System

The City of New York(NEW YORK) -- While Democrats and Republicans trade jabs over how to more quickly stimulate job growth, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday said both parties are overlooking “the one thing” that can do the trick: encouraging more legal immigration to the United States.
 
“It’s what I call national suicide -- and that’s not hyperbole,” Bloomberg told a symposium at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Every day that we fail to fix our broken immigration laws is a day that we inflict a wound on our economy.”
 
Bloomberg cited a new report by the Partnership for a New American Economy, an advocacy group he founded jointly with News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, that found more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by an immigrant or a child of immigrants and now employ more than 10 million people worldwide.
 
“Immigrants and their children have been responsible for creating millions more jobs in all 50 states,” he said. “The reason is simple: immigrants are dreamers and risk-takers who are driven to succeed, because they know that in America, hard work and talent are rewarded like nowhere else.”
 
Bloomberg said the “single most powerful step” to spur job growth is enacting a five-point bipartisan reform that would allow foreign graduates of U.S. universities to obtain green cards; lure foreign entrepreneurs to innovate on American soil; end caps on visas for highly skilled workers; ensure an abundant supply of agricultural guest workers; and set green card limits based on the country’s economic needs, not an immigrant’s family ties.
 
“The public cares about two things: housing and jobs. My house, my job. And if you want to do something in this country to create jobs, better jobs and more jobs, and a better chance to keep your houses, the one thing we can do is not expensive for this country, it’s not a big stimulus of trillions of dollars, it is immigration reform,” he said.
 
“That will get the best and the brightest from around the world, those that are the hungriest and willing to work the hardest to come here and create exactly what we need.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio