Bloomberg Mum on Joining Mayoral Debates

Mayor Bloomberg has refused to say if he will participate in debates during his re-election bid this year.

Unlike his likely Democratic challenger, who will be required to engage in debates because he accepts public-matching dollars from the Campaign Finance Board, Bloomberg's campaign is self-financed, so he's not required to participate.

Bloomberg brushed off the question Thursday, saying "I'm gonna focus on running the city," and referring questions to his campaign.

Bloomberg also was asked if his new habit of speaking in Spanish during his news conferences (even when they're being carried live on English TV stations) is politically motivated.

"There's no political advantage," Bloomberg said of his love for the language. "This is a hobby."

Bloomberg was asked questions on a range of topics at a lengthy Q&A session Thursday, including Joe Biden's remarks about the swine flu that's gripping the nation, as well as potentially insensitive remarks toward Mexicans in a column published online by one of his appointees.


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