N.Y.C. Mayor Michael Bloomberg Plays Not My Job Michael Bloomberg loves New York City so much .... that he won't give it back. He's in his third term as mayor now -- a job he's held since 2002. We've invited him to play a called "I'm Your King, and I quit." Three questions about the Duke of Windsor.
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N.Y.C. Mayor Michael Bloomberg Plays Not My Job

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N.Y.C. Mayor Michael Bloomberg Plays Not My Job

N.Y.C. Mayor Michael Bloomberg Plays Not My Job

N.Y.C. Mayor Michael Bloomberg Plays Not My Job

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/130437934/130438780" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Michael Bloomberg
Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg loves New York City so much .... that he won't give it back. He's in his third term as mayor now -- a job he's held since 2002.

We've invited Bloomberg to play a game called "I'm your King, and I quit." Three questions about the most famous quitter of the 20th century -- the Duke of Windsor, who reigned very briefly in 1936 as England's King Edward XIII.

PETER SAGAL, Host:

And now the game where we invite extremely powerful people on to our show and make them do something completely unimportant.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It's a waste of their time, but we enjoy it. We called it Not my Job.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Mayor Michael Bloomberg loves New York City. He loves New York City so much, in fact, that he has so far refused to give it back.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Now in his third term as mayor of this great city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Thank you.

SAGAL: Welcome to WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

BLOOMBERG: Thank you very much.

SAGAL: Great to have you with us. So, you're the mayor of this city. We're so excited to get to talk to you so much we want to ask you. First, can you do anything about the car alarm that's going off in front of our hotel...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...every night at 3 a.m.?

BLOOMBERG: No.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You don't have that power?

BLOOMBERG: No.

SAGAL: We wonder about that because this is a city of, shall we say, outspoken people. Do people come up to you and say, Mayor Bloomberg, you got to help me out because there's a sewer, there's a pothole, there's a this, there's a that?

BLOOMBERG: Well, it's New York, so they ask different things. In the morning on the subway only once has somebody screamed at me. As the door closed, the guy looked at me and said, "Fix the Knicks."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

BLOOMBERG: Even God can't do that.

SAGAL: Oh, really? Wait a minute; you take the subway to work?

BLOOMBERG: Every day.

SAGAL: Really?

BLOOMBERG: Yup.

SAGAL: And have you had...

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Because, you know, I know this is New York.

BLOOMBERG: But I get it for half price because I've got a seniors Metro card.

SAGAL: There you go.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: How in the world - I mean you've lived in New York for a long time, right, your whole life pretty much. How in the world can anyone spend so much time in New York, do so much business here and look around and imagine that anybody could tell any of these people what to do?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOOMBERG: Well, I tell them, and they don't listen and we're both happy.

SAGAL: Really?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOOMBERG: But they do pay me.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: They do.

BLOOMBERG: They pay me a dollar a year.

SAGAL: We know that. They pay you a dollar a year. Obviously, you're not hurting when it comes to the income. But we wanted to ask you, do you actually get the dollar a year? Is there a little ceremony?

BLOOMBERG: No, I get a check for 93 cents because they take out Social Security.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Do they really?

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

BLOOMBERG: And I've always had this fantasy of our commissioner from finance at the end of the year trying to balance the city's checkbook and he can't find where the 93 cents went.

SAGAL: Because you're not cashing the checks?

BLOOMBERG: I've got them all framed.

SAGAL: Really? Because we thought you'd be saving up for something nice when you retire.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

CHARLIE PIERCE: Like what, a Milky Way bar?

BLOOMBERG: Right, yeah.

SAGAL: Like a knish maybe. They have those here.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOOMBERG: Not for 93 cents they don't.

SAGAL: No, apparently not, apparently not. One of the hallmarks of your terms as mayor is you've really, shall we say, looked after the better interests of New Yorkers, whether they wanted you to or not.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You've got the transfat ban, the smoking ban.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Yeah. Apparently, that's popular. I mean - and recently, you've had campaigns against sugary soda. Don't you realize that pretty much everybody in New York already has a Jewish mother?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Do they need another?

BLOOMBERG: Yeah, sure they need another one, because their Jewish mother is sitting at home, feet up, watching - listening to your radio show.

SAGAL: Right. But doesn't it go against the image of New York? Because New York is tough, New York is a place where people take risks and do crazy things and (unintelligible).

BLOOMBERG: Yeah, we do that. We do that, but we also live one year and seven months more now than we did eight years ago.

SAGAL: Really?

BLOOMBERG: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

BLOOMBERG: I mean, if that doesn't make you happy, I don't know what I can do for you, you know?

SAGAL: I know. But you can't extend the life of New Yorkers, they can't afford the extra rent.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yeah, live another two years, but where am I going to get the money? Honestly, a graveyard. Actually, I'm sure there are people who are already moving into their cemetery plots because, you know, it's a good deal. And in New York, you don't stay in your apartment anyway.

We were talking about money a little while ago and you've already mentioned that you take the subway to work, which is great. You once told Time Out New York, and I quote you, "If God told me I was going to die tomorrow, I would have white toast, burnt, with a quarter inch of Skippy super chunk melted on it and then slices of overripe banana and burnt crisp bacon in a sandwich," unquote.

BLOOMBERG: Yup.

SAGAL: So our question is, Mayor Bloomberg, you are aware you are a billionaire, is this not true?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That's it.

BLOOMBERG: Well, my 101-year-old mother eats peanut butter sandwiches every day. It must work.

SAGAL: You have 101-year-old mother?

BLOOMBERG: Yeah.

SAGAL: You have a 101-year-old - I'm going to assume something here, 101-year- old Jewish mother.

BLOOMBERG: Yes.

SAGAL: You're a billionaire. You're the mayor of New York.

BLOOMBERG: Yup.

SAGAL: Is she still vaguely disappointed in you?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: She's like, Mikey, you know, your third term is up, it's not too late for medical school if you're looking around.

BLOOMBERG: Right, exactly.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

BLOOMBERG: There's always hope.

SAGAL: You spent a lot of money on your campaign. Somebody once calculated one of your elections at $90 a vote. Was it worth it? Was it, you know, all that service you get from everybody?

BLOOMBERG: Well, if I could have done it for less, I would have.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

BLOOMBERG: As JFK's father said, all he wanted to do is buy the election, not a landslide.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It's terrible that a man of your background and business acumen had to buy the mayoralty retail. That seems...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That seems unfair. I do want to ask you, though, I mean you are coming to the end of your third term. I don't think even - I assume there's no plan to change it again so you can have a fourth.

BLOOMBERG: No. There's 1,181 days left to go, but who's counting?

SAGAL: Exactly.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Are you counting them like only 1,181, I can't stand that it's so short, or all I have to do is get through these and then I'll be free, free at last?

BLOOMBERG: No, I get up every day and I like what I do.

SAGAL: Is there anything you've wanted to say to the people of New York that you have not been able to?

BLOOMBERG: No.

SAGAL: That you now can?

BLOOMBERG: I was a wise ass at 26 and, you know, at 68 it's the same thing.

SAGAL: Really?

BLOOMBERG: Yeah.

SAGAL: They've been pretty much getting that from you all along?

BLOOMBERG: Yeah.

SAGAL: Really? When you're out of office, what do you want people to say about you? Mike Bloomberg that guy, he what?

BLOOMBERG: Handsome.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That was a good looking guy. Tall, too.

BLOOMBERG: Absolutely.

SAGAL: Well, Mayor Bloomberg, we are thrilled to have you here with us at Carnegie Hall, this jewel in your city. And we have asked you here to play a game we're calling?

CARL KASELL, Host:

I'm your king and I quit.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Since you've shown that if there's one thing you won't do, it's leave your job, we thought we'd ask you three questions about the most famous quitter of the 20th century, the Duke of Windsor, who reigned very briefly in 1936 as King Edward VIII of England. If you answer two questions about the king and future duke correctly, you will win our prize for one of our listeners, Carl's voice on their home voicemail. Are you ready to play?

BLOOMBERG: I am ready.

SAGAL: All who is the mayor of New York City playing for, Carl?

KASELL: The mayor is playing for Steve Searle of New York City.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: All right, ready to play?

BLOOMBERG: Yup.

SAGAL: Here we go. Even before he abdicated his throne, King Edward proved himself to be a rather odd monarch. Among the decrees of his first and only year as King were which of these? A, that his portrait on the coins be turned around from right to left profile so that people could see the part in his hair? B, that the Pug Dog, beloved of kings, be officially known in Great Britain as the Royal Hound of Favor? Or C, that Coca-Cola be banned from the United Kingdom, in favor of Royal Crown Cola?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOOMBERG: I guess - can you give me any hints?

SAGAL: You think I'm going to give you a hint? Do you think you, Michael Bloomberg, needs a hint?

BLOOMBERG: Well, you got to get out of town.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That's true.

BLOOMBERG: I guess I'd go with A.

SAGAL: You're going to go with A.

BLOOMBERG: Yeah.

SAGAL: That his portrait be turned around?

BLOOMBERG: Yeah.

SAGAL: You are correct, sir. That's exactly right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Tradition holds that each new royal coin shows the monarch facing the opposite way of his predecessor. But Edward was vain about the part in his hair so insisted that he be seen facing the left, like his father.

BLOOMBERG: I knew that.

SAGAL: I know you know it now.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right, next question. Edward abdicated the throne, of course, when he proposed to Mrs. Wallis Simpson, the woman he loved, a divorcee who was known to get around. In fact, while the future king was courting her, causing scandal and dismay, she was still seeing whom on the side? Was it, A, Winston Churchill; B, a Ford salesman; or C, her husband's golf instructor?

BLOOMBERG: Well, I wish to be a golfer, so I'm going to go with C.

SAGAL: Sadly, it was the Ford salesman.

BLOOMBERG: Really?

SAGAL: Yeah. Apparently, he was a very charming, handsome Ford salesman. But Mrs. Simpson was carrying on with him while she was carrying on with the Prince of Wales.

BLOOMBERG: I didn't Ford sold in England in those days.

SAGAL: They did. Oh, yes.

BLOOMBERG: Henry got around.

SAGAL: He did. All right, this is very exciting. This is coming down, as we say, to the last inning here, because if you get this one right, you will win it all. So Edward gave up the throne, as we know. He abdicated; became the Duke of Windsor. His brother George became King George VI. How did Edward spend the first months of his post-monarchy? A, enjoying walking into shops and saying, "Hello, I'm Ed"? B, calling up his brother the king every day and begging for money? Or C, trying to auction off the furnishing of Balmoral Castle?

BLOOMBERG: Tricky, tricky.

SAGAL: Yes.

BLOOMBERG: They don't auction off the furniture of Balmoral Castle, do they?

SAGAL: No.

BLOOMBERG: I don't think so. Probably calling his brother and asking for a buck or two.

SAGAL: Yes, you're right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

BLOOMBERG: Thank you.

SAGAL: You are.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: He called the king every day asking for money until the king asked to have the calls not put through. Carl, how did Mayor Bloomberg do on our quiz?

KASELL: Mayor Bloomberg had two correct answers, Peter, and that was enough to win for Steve Searle.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

SAGAL: Very good. Steve Searle is here.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: He's excited. He likes you more than he did.

BLOOMBERG: Steve, wait. Wait, Steve, we do charge sales tax on that.

SAGAL: Absolutely.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Michael Bloomberg is the mayor of New York in this third term. Thank you so much for being here, Mayor Bloomberg.

BLOOMBERG: Thank you.

SAGAL: An honor to be here and in your city.

BLOOMBERG: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, everybody.

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