You may recall that during President Obama’s vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, on August 27 he took in a round of golf at the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, playing golf with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Democratic lawyer, business man and éminence grise Vernon Jordan; and White House trip director (and former golf pro) Marvin Nicholson.
The pool report at the time said that “We are told Bloomberg and Obama talked in the clubhouse for about 15 mins about the economy. They then went to the driving range.”
Apparently – at least from a second-hand report – the Obama-Bloomberg convo could have gone better.
In an interview with The Australian Financial Review, conservative media magnate Rupert Murdoch says ”Bloomberg said it was a pleasant day. In conversation he put a few ideas … He said it was like verbal ping pong.”
Bloomberg, according to Murdoch, “came back and said ‘I never met in my life such an arrogant man’.”
A spokesman for Bloomberg did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Murdoch – the Australian-born founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of News Corporation, which owns conservative media outlets ranging from Fox News Channel to the New York Post – is described by The Age as saying in the interview that President Obama “might make great speeches but doesn’t get things done and doesn’t listen to anybody.”
Earlier this year, News Corporation gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association as well as $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which largely worked to elect Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections.
The interview was first picked up in the U.S. by The Politico’s Ben Smith.
UPDATE: It’s worth pointing out that Bloomberg and Murdoch have been friends and allies for years.
In an August 2001 story about Bloomberg’s mayoral ambitions in the Melbourne Australia Herald Sun, New York Post columnist Steve Dunleavy says that Bloomberg is “probably better known in Bondi” — a suburb of Sydney, Australia — “than in Brooklyn” because Bloomberg News runs on Australian pay TV.
“He’s probably right,” Bloomberg said in the profile. “That’s thanks to Rupert (Murdoch). He put it on Foxtel well before it took off in other parts of the world.”
Bloomberg also chatted with his longtime friend before he made public his plans to change New York City’s term-limits laws and run for a third term; he’d need the New York Post, which Murdoch owns, on board.
Joyce Purnick, author of “Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics,” was given unprecedented access to the mayor, and describes Bloomberg in Sun Valley, Idaho, making plans with Murdoch, and the two dining at Primavera in Manhattan. Bloomberg was planning to announce his intention to seek a third term but had not made up his mind yet. Murdoch was clearly on board.
“Murdoch, who considered the Democrats lining up to succeed the mayor ‘too horrible, too dangerous’ to contemplate, wanted to run an editorial in the Post immediately. Wait just a little while, Bloomberg advises. ‘He said, “Don’t come out for me yet, I don’t want to leave you out on a limb,”’ Murdoch recalled. The mayor had to take care of more business first…An obviously orchestrated rollout began on September 29…The next day, a Post editorial trumpeted RUN, MIKE, RUN…
In September of this year the two joined forces to testify in favor of immigration reform.
Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson says he “just reached the Mayor in Hong Kong. He remembers the conversation differently. As he has said many times he believes all Americans should be rooting for the President to succeed.”