Billionaire media mogul and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg is so confident he’s lived a good life, he jokes to Steve Kroft he can skip the interview with St. Peter at the Golden Gate. The Bloomberg L.P. founder and former three-term mayor of New York also talks about his past designs on the presidency in a wide-ranging interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, April 23 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
“I like what I see when I look in the mirror....We’ve probably saved millions of lives, and certainly we’ll save tens of millions of lives going forward,” he says referring to the causes he has supported and funded for the future. “There aren’t many people that have done that. So, you know, when I get to heaven, I’m not sure I’m going to stand for an interview. I’m going right in,” Bloomberg says with a laugh.
During his years in office, Bloomberg went on a health kick, waging war on soft drinks, smoking and trans fats in food -- angering some New Yorkers but saving the lives of others, he says. He is the 8th richest man in the world, according to Forbes, and has already given away $5 billion. Most of his estimated fortune of $47 billion is earmarked for his charitable foundation, says Bloomberg. “Oh, it’s more money than anybody could possibly spend on themselves. The issue is what can you do with it?”
“I like what I see when I look in the mirror....We’ve probably saved millions of lives, and certainly we’ll save tens of millions of lives going forward.”
So far, Bloomberg has spent huge sums on gun control, anti-smoking activities and environmental concerns, including $100 million for the Sierra Club’s battle against the coal industry. He points out that life expectancy of New Yorkers went up three years while he was mayor. It was a job he liked. “Loved every minute of it. It’s a wonderful job. The challenges are enormous, but you have a great opportunity to make a difference,” he tells Kroft.
He was respected and effective enough as mayor to consider running for the presidency twice, even picking a running mate in retired Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, according to aides. But he never could build a constituency among either Democrats or Republicans and he concluded he could never be elected as an Independent. Would he consider a run in the future?
“Well, I’m 75 years old. It’d be an age issue, I suppose. I’ve got plenty of things to do. And maybe I’ll run for president of my block association, but not much more than that.”