Bloomberg: Obama's big success was "getting elected"

In a wide-ranging interview with The Atlantic magazine, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a frank assessment of both presidential candidates.

President Obama's biggest accomplishment, he said, has been "just getting elected." Mitt Romney, meanwhile, is employing a "losing strategy" by failing to show conviction, Bloomberg said.

The independent mayor, who did not endorse a candidate in 2008, said that he knows who he's going to vote for this year but plans on keeping that information private. "I have to work with whoever gets elected, keep in mind," he said. "And I also think that an elected official has some obligations to represent their constituents' interests, and not to push their own interests."

When asked what he considered the Obama administration's greatest success to be, Bloomberg said, "I suppose, well, you can step back and say: showing that the country has gotten beyond the ethnicity or religion or whatever of an elected official. That was a big deal."

Bloomberg confirmed to The Atlantic that he meant, "Just getting elected." He added, "I really do think that that's -- and you can make the argument that JFK did the same thing, getting elected as a Catholic, or Mitt Romney running as a Mormon."

The mayor also praised the administration for its work on education and its support of same-sex marriage. However, when asked whether he'd add the killing of Osama bin Laden to the list of accomplishments, Bloomberg said, "That's like giving Harry Truman credit for dropping the bomb: any president would've pushed that button, any president would've dropped the bomb."

Bloomberg added that "there's no Obama Doctrine that I know of. I don't know that anybody has enunciated a worldview the way that Henry Kissinger did in his day, or George Shultz, or even [James] Baker."

The mayor gave an unsolicited critique of Mitt Romney's campaign while talking to The Atlantic about leadership qualities.

"Leadership is about doing what you think is right and then building a constituency behind it. It is not doing a poll and following from the back," he said. "... Al Gore and John Kerry tried to be on both sides of every issue. 'I voted for the war, but not to fund it.' And that's Mitt Romney's problem, I think. He walked away from everything he did. He actually was a pretty good governor of Massachusetts, where I come from. I think that's a losing strategy, to not have values."

The public wants leaders with "real conviction," Bloomberg said, attributing that quality to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's success.


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