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Health-Conscious Bloomberg Presides Over Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Weigh-In

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg is fighting a different kind of war. Not about what he puts in his mouth, but on what comes out of it.

On Tuesday at City Hall Park, the mayor attended the annual weigh-in for the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island. Sometimes, as CBS 2's Marcia Kramer found out, even the mayor has a hard time swallowing his own pronouncements.

"Marth, Marcia don't shake your head because there's a lot more to come," Bloomberg said.

The admonition from the oh-so-health-conscious mayor came at an event celebrating the oh-so-unhealthy hot dog.

Bloomberg addresses crowd at weigh-in ceremony.


There was Mr. No Salt, No Transfats and Limited Soda reeling off pun after pun about a food reportedly so bad for you the Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine put up a billboard last year comparing hot dogs to cigarettes.

At one point the mayor wondered if the reigning champs would win "or if one of their dogged pursuers will finally 'ketchup,' cut the mustard and be pronounced wiener. No question it's going to be a dog fight."

That one was even too much for "Mayor Mike," who had, pardon the term, frank words for his speechwriter.

"Who wrote this (expletive)?" he said to laughter.

WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reports


Given his food police stance, some have questioned the mayor's involvement with the hot dog eating contest.

"It's a mixed message because hot dogs are a real fatty food," one person said.

"I would think that comes across as a bit hypocritical," another said.

"It kind of makes him look a little foolish," one person added.

However, there was one person not taking sides.

"As a hot dog, I would prefer if people didn't eat hot dogs and other high-calorie [foods] because that's just me. I fear for my own life," a man known as "Mr. Hot Dog" said.

As competitive eaters get ready for one of the biggest contests of the year, Bloomberg, an advocate for eating healthy, said there's nothing wrong with the occasional fast-food meal.

"I like fast food like everybody else. It's great. It tastes great. But if you want to stay and live longer, it's not a good recipe," he said Monday. "Having it occasionally is fine. If you want to eat 65 hot dogs in 10 minutes, that's even fine. Just don't do it more than once a year and you won't have a problem."

Just for the record, a hot dog and bun has 355 calories and lots and lots of salt, but, as Mayor Bloomberg says, anything is okay in moderation.

The Nathan's hot dog eating contest will begin Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. with women's competition, followed by the men's competition at noon.

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut took home the Mustard Belt for the fifth year in a row last year with Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas winning the first-ever women's division. In last year's competition, Chestnut ate 62 dogs, while Thomas ate 40.

PHOTOS: 2012 Weigh-In Ceremony

PHOTOS: The 2011 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Not everyone is a fan of the annual chow fest. Wednesday's contest will also feature a protest from the animal rights group Mercy For Animals, which plans on challenging the contestants to answer why they call some animals pets and others dinner.

1010 WINS' Al Jones reports


"If you wouldn't eat your dog, why eat other animals?" asked MFA's National Campaign Coordinator Phil Letten. "Farm animals are just as intelligent, sensitive, and worthy of our respect as the animals we consider pets. This outrageous meat gorge fest is not only a gross public display of gluttony, but also promotes the cruelty, exploitation, and violence that animals suffer at factory farms and slaughterhouses before becoming Nathan's Famous Frankfurters. The most powerful action we can take to prevent egregious animal abuse is to adopt a compassionate vegetarian diet."

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What do you think? Is the mayor being hypocritical? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below ...

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