So it wasn't totally out of character for Giuliani to offer sympathy - sort of - when told Koch's daily radio talk show had been canceled after eight years.
Acknowledging he might want a similar gig some day, Giuliani said Monday he hoped Koch would land "another show as quickly as possible. ... I want ex-mayors to do as well as they can on radio."
But the incumbent's compassion turned caustic - then comedic - when a reporter noted that Koch regularly used the WABC-AM show to bash Giuliani, and had recently hinted that he had failed to detect fraud in a city employees' union election.
"He's dying for a corruption scandal in my administration so he doesn't end up with the most corrupt administration in the second half of the 20th century," the mayor said Monday. He added, acidly, "I always look forward to his criticisms because then I have something to talk about at a news conference."
To make his point, Giuliani mimicked Koch's reactions to callers who praise Giuliani, rather than Koch, as the better mayor.
"He goes crazy when they do that," Giuliani told reporters in Times Square. "I love it. I think it's great. It gets all kinds of reactions from him."
He then slipped into a burlesque of Koch's nasal voice: "That's ridiculous! That's awful! Get out of here! Get off my show! That's the end of that discussion! Then he will say, 'Ed Koch, the voice of reason.'"
"It's a great shtick. He's terrific," Giuliani said.
Koch called Giuliani's remarks "an outrage," because Giuliani had recently lauded Koch as an "excellent mayor."
Although he denied it, falling ratings may have led to the cancellation of Koch's five-days-a-week radio show, for which he reportedly earned $300,000 a year.
The station declined comment, saying only that Koch's slot would be filled by Dr. Laura Schlessinger's pop-psychotherapy talk show. Koch's last show airs Thursday.
Koch doesn't need to worry about being without a job, though. He's a lawyer, newspaper columnist, film critic, author, public speaker and TV pitchman, and plays the judge on The People's Court daily television show.
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