N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg touts Meg Whitman's private-sector experience in joint campaign stop
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood with Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman at a news conference Friday afternoon in San Jose, arguing that her background as chief executive of EBay and her massive personal investment in the campaign gives her the management skills and independence necessary to be California's next governor.
As a fellow billionaire who held the national record for personal political spending before Whitman surpassed him this year, Bloomberg said he faced similar criticism nine years ago over his lack of government experience.
"She is exactly what we need in these tough economic times," he said. "Back in 2001, when people said I didn't have the experience to run the biggest city in the country, because I had never worked in the public sector, they were really skeptical. But the reality is that a smart, talented manager who has thrived in the private sector can definitely succeed in government."
He added: "She is not a career politician. She is a career problem-solver. We don't need politicians today. We need problem-solvers."
The comments came after Bloomberg and Whitman toured the factory floor at Zazzle, a custom products company that manufactures T-shirts, hats and memorabilia.
For her part, Whitman thanked Bloomberg for his support and praised his accomplishments, including streamlining New York's government, making the city one of the safest in the country and expanding charter schools.
Bloomberg said Whitman's personal campaign spending -- $141.5 million -- allows her to enter office with no strings attached.
"What better commitment can you have?" he said. "She made her own money and she is willing to spend it to make the citizens of California and of the United States better. She's my kind of candidate."
The two are split, however, on California's landmark global-warming law. Whitman has proposed suspending the measure for a year, saying that its implementation would harm the state's sour economy and cost jobs. Bloomberg said the state should move ahead with the law.
"This is the time to make sure that we don't walk away from the air we breath today and the water we drink today and what our kids are going to eat, drink and breath tomorrow," Bloomberg said. "New York City made that mistake of walking away from the future back in the '70s. It took us decades to work our ways out of it. If California is going to have a future, they better show the world they have the courage to continue on and do what's right for themselves and their children."
As Democratic nominee Jerry Brown prepared to appear with President Obama at a Los Angeles rally, Whitman said the administration's efforts to revive the economy had been a failure.
"The progress has been terrible," she said. "Look at the unemployment rates we face in California and we face in the country. The very first priority for me as governor -- and should have been for the president of the United States -- is to get Americans back to work. If we don't jump-start this economy, there is no way out of this mess."
-- Michael J. Mishak in San Jose