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Groundhog bites N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg, signals early arrival of pain

February 2, 2009 |  6:28 pm

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg teases a fellow New Yorker with a cob of corn and pays the price

So everyone was gathered there on Staten Island for the annual Feb. 2 photo stupidity of whether the captive groundhog sees his shadow or not.

Good thing there's no economic or budgetary crisis in New York City or the nation to distract from such guff.

So Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the one-time-Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent, was presiding along with Charles G. Hogg, the zoo's live groundhog prop, party affiliation unknown.

Bloomberg picked up the groundhog and enthusiastically waved it on high for the crowd to see, which may not have been what the awakening creature had in mind.

Then, according to a report by Bloomberg's own Bloomberg news, Bloomberg teased the animal with a cob of corn, giving the groundhog a nibble and jerking it away, then offering it again and yanking it away. Lotsa fun.

That's when Charles G. Hogg bit the billionaire. On the left index finger. Right through the official mayoral glove. Drew blood.

Sporting a bandage later, the mayor described his furry attacker as "a terrorist rodent that might very well have been trained by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan." An embarrassed joke that may not seem as funny within New York City as without.

--Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Spencer T. Tucker / Mayor's Office via Associated Press