Philadelphia Is Going Nuts for Mayor Michael Nutter

Why the city has gone nuts for Mayor Michael Nutter.

Feb. 13, 2008— -- The line of people waiting to meet Philadelphia's 83rd mayor stretched around City Hall. What was supposed to take just a few hours took seven for some. It was day one on the job for Michael Nutter.

"I don't know if it was just to meet me, but many people walk by this majestic building, never ventured inside, and I wanted to open the doors of City Hall and return this building to the public," Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia's newest politician with rockstar status, told ABC's Charles Gibson.

Mayor Nutter, like some other politicians we know, ran his campaign around the promise of "change."

In his inaugural address, Nutter said, "I'm offering the greatest American city turn-around this country has seen in the last fifty years."

Philadelphia is one-sixth the size of New York but has more murders.

Nutter has a plan.

"By May 1, we're going to have 200 more officers on the streets of Philadelphia. By the end of this fiscal year next June, we'll have 400 more officers on the streets," he said. "We have people running the streets with illegal weapons, we're going to aggressively go after those individuals with constitutional and legal tactics, known as Stop, Question and Frisk."

Nutter has talked a lot about Stop, Question and Frisk, which was one of the hallmarks of his campaign. He said the campaign should not be misconstrued as racial profiling.

"It's a tragedy in this city that the overwhelming majority of victims and perpetrators happen to be African-American, but it would not matter to me what their color is or where people came from, they could be polka-dot with purple stripes for all I care," he said. "If you have an illegal weapon, I'm coming after it and we're going to take it away from you … The first right we're going to protect is the right not to be shot."

The mayor's typical day is filled with phone calls, motorcades, photo ops and nearly constant physical outreach.

"I like taking walks throughout the city — drives security crazy a little bit, but I like being out there with people. And that's how I think you stay connected," he said.

After dropping his daughter Olivia off at public school each morning and having breakfast at the spot that has been his favorite for 15 years, he attends meeting after meeting.

His city is losing population and losing jobs and suffers lots of problems, but people are enthusiastic about their new mayor.

"I didn't run for mayor to be the caretaker of the status quo," he said.

During and after college Nutter worked as a DJ at a popular disco where many a political fundraiser was held. His curiosity was piqued and at 24 he started observing the city council.

"I was just a kid and a volunteer and worked with a council member and realized that this was what I wanted to do," he recalled.

The mayor does like to have fun, as evidenced in videos and photos where he can be seen rapping on his inauguration night.

The mixmaster mayor is also the unlikely mayor. He won in a field of five — and no one expected him to come out on top.

He is deadly serious about fixing Philadelphia's many problems, but he says he's trying to have some fun with it as well.

"You know, public service is serious enough on its own and what I've found is if you take yourself take yourself too seriously in this business, you'll lose sight of what it is that you're trying to get done," he said. "So I mean I've tried to have the proper mix of being a serious public servant, but also still being a regular guy."