Bloomberg visits Philly to endorse Sestak

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) was at Progress Plaza in North Philadelphia to show his support tor Democratic U.S Senate candidate Joe Sestak on Aug. 17, 2010.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) was at Progress Plaza in North Philadelphia to show his support tor Democratic U.S Senate candidate Joe Sestak on Aug. 17, 2010. (Peter Mucha)
Posted: August 17, 2010

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a political independent, visited Philadelphia this morning to endorse Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak.

At a news conference in the parking lot at Progress Plaza in North Philadelphia, the mayor declared, "A vote for Joe is a vote for leadership, for independence and the results this nation needs."

Sestak said, "I'd like to serve with the same practical businesslike approach as Mayor Bloomberg, and let the political consequences fall where they may."

The two went into the Fresh Grocer for cheesesteaks. Bloomberg asked for hot sauce. What kind of cheese? "Not Swiss," he said, a reference to John Kerry's faux pas in 2004 presidential campaign.

The Sestak camp, facing a tough battle against Republican Pat Toomey, hopes that Bloomberg's reputation for nonideological government will help persuade voters that ex-vice admiral Sestak isn't locked into some liberal mindset.

Bloomberg, a former Wall Street trader who founded the financial media and information empire that bears his name, began his third term as mayor of the nation's largest city in January. Elected first as a Republican, he left the party halfway through his second term.

He briefly considered an independent run for president in the 2008 election.

"The mayor is supporting Joe Sestak because he's an independent thinker, he's intelligent, and he has executive experience," Jason Post, a Bloomberg spokesman, said.

The mayor also indicated he liked Sestak's emphasis on tax breaks and lending initiatives aimed at small businesses, Sestak campaign officials said.

Bloomberg's visit did trigger questions on one of the most controversial issues in politics in recent days: Muslim plans to build a community center and mosque near ground zero in Lower Manhattan.

Republicans have been pounding President Obama for his defense of the right of Muslims to build there.

Bloomberg, who is Jewish, has vocally defended the mosque project.

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