Bloomberg furious over prez candidates' gun stances, creates new initiative
Mayor Mike Bloomberg is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to gun control, same-sex marriage and education reform.
The billionaire mayor said Wednesday that he will fund a super PAC to help candidates who favor gun control in local, state and federal elections nationwide. A person familiar with the plans put the commitment at $10 million to $15 million.
The announcement came after Bloomberg ripped President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, saying neither offered a solid plan to get guns off the streets during Tuesday night's debate at Hofstra University.
"I don't think they gave a good answer," the mayor said during a news conference.
Bloomberg said he intends to support to Democrats, Republicans and independents. "This new effort will support candidates and causes that will help protect Americans from the scourge of gun violence, improve our schools, and advance our freedoms," Bloomberg said on his personal website.
Former Maine Gov. Angus King, who is running for the U.S. Senate as an independent, and Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) are among those who may get support from Bloomberg's super PAC, according to the person familiar with the plans.
Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson will take a leave of absence from City Hall to run the effort.
Bloomberg was visibly perturbed by the debate responses to an undecided voter, Nina Gonzales, who asked each man what he would do to get AK-47s off the streets.
Obama spoke of enforcing existing laws and programs to discourage violence.
Romney said he didn't favor any new legislation and stressed education and parenting.
The mayor said the American people deserved more from both men because 48,000 people will die from gun violence over the next four years.
Bloomberg called the education answer "gibberish." He noted that the Aurora, Colo., shooting suspect who killed 12 people in a movie theater in July and the Virginia Tech shooter who killed 32 people in 2007 were both highly educated and from good families.
The mayor said an executive order to improve background checks on gun buyers was one way the next president could effectively work to prevent gun violence.
"The president can tell all [government] agencies right now to populate their databases," he said.