Bloomberg Gives Obama Green Light to Raise Taxes on Middle Class


bloombergMayor Bloomberg took his charm offensive to the airwaves today, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to praise President Obama’s stimulus plan and economic management – and even giving him cover to raise taxes on the middle class. “The president has to deal with the reality, and some of the things are beyond his control,” Bloomberg said. “He makes commitments and he tries to live up to them, and I think the courage of being able to say, ‘Look, the world is different than I anticipated or what it was before, and I’m going to have to face that,’ it’s fine.”

“It does not mean that he’s going to have to raise taxes on the middle class,” the mayor quickly added.

He appeared alongside Newark Mayor Cory Booker to say Obama’s stimulus plan has helped the mindset of the American economy – even though its practical effects are still lagging.

“The main thing the stimulus program has done so far, however, is given the country hope that there will be more economic activity down the road, because most of the stimulus money hasn’t been spent yet,” Bloomberg said. “We do have a crisis of confidence, and I think this president can look back on six months in office and say, ‘I’ve gotten the country a little bit through that. I’ve given them some hope.’ We still have a long ways to go.”

When host David Gregory asked whether Bloomberg was disappointed Obama has not done more to tighten gun laws – a top issue for Bloomberg and Booker – Hizzoner gave the president a pass.

“No, but I’m certainly going to urge him to do so,” Bloomberg said. “I’ll certainly urge everybody. This isn’t a battle where you want to assign blame.”

Bloomberg has refused to say whether he voted for Obama last fall, and he was reportedly one of Sen. John McCain’s top candidates to run for vice president as a Republican. Yet he has gone out of his way to praise Obama this year as he runs for a third term against Controller William Thompson, an African-American Democrat.

Asked about the campaign, Bloomberg cast himself as a reformer, saying some people will vote against him because they say, “I want to have a political environment where I can get my friend appointed, or I don’t want to change something because it’s worked and I’m comfortable with it.”

Bloomberg laughed when Gregory asked whether he would shave his head in the style Booker and Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty favor.

“My hair is falling out at sufficient rate that I won’t have to shave it,” Bloomberg said. “It’s going to be gone.”
He looked less comfortable a moment later.

Booker, who has endorsed Blooomberg’s reelection bid, was trying to portray him as a centrist. But Booker twice called him a Republican, a label Bloomberg has tried to shake despite running on the GOP line.

“I have endorsed Mayor Bloomberg. He’s a Republican. We cast our country too simplistically in left-right debates.

He’s been a leader in bringing America together,” Booker said, as Bloomberg stared at him. “I’m proud to sit here with a Republican, because that’s the only way our city’s going to – our nation’s going to – move forward, is left and right working together.”

{NY Daily News/ Newscenter}