Bloomberg's "Own Army," "Smoked Up" Speech Raises Eyebrows

Spokesman: “he was speaking a bit euphemistically"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mayor Mike Bloomberg seemed to get a little carried away during a speech at MIT this week. He explained just how much power he already has as a mayor, calling the NYPD his "army" – and then made some other eyebrow-raising statements. Melissa Russo reports. (Published Thursday, Dec 1, 2011)

    Some New Yorkers may have wondered what Mayor Bloomberg was smoking when he proclaimed he has his "own army” and admitted he "smoked up" in college during an unscripted speech at MIT Tuesday.

    During that speech, Bloomberg let down his guard on a wide range of topics – including his own drug and alcohol use in the 1960s.

    “I don’t know where you went to school, but we were too smoked up and drunk to carry a gun,” Bloomberg said, after describing a conversation with an Oklahoma lawmaker about legislation banning guns on college campuses.

    The “smoked up” comment came after Bloomberg described how powerful his job is.

    “Where else would I run an organization with 330,000 employees? I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh-biggest army in the world,” Bloomberg said.

    He added, “I have my own State Department, to Foggy Bottom's annoyance. We have the U.N. in New York, so we have entrée into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have.”

    Bloomberg made the comments as he gave the keynote address at MIT’s Collaborative Initiative Conference, on the tech campus in Cambridge, Mass.

    Bloomberg’s spokesman said there was “nothing new” about the mayor’s puzzling statements on Tuesday.

    Stu Loeser said “he was speaking a bit euphemistically to a bunch of college students.”

    Bloomberg also raised eyebrows when he said it wouldn’t be so bad to double class sizes as long as the teachers are capable, and said the reason students aren’t allowed to bring their iPads to class is because they would download pornography, causing lawsuits.

    “This is Bloomberg unbound,” political strategist Dan Gerstein said. "He doesn’t have to run for reelection. I think you’re actually gonna see more of this over the next couple of years until he leaves office.”