Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign has struggled to fully address the nominee’s well-documented history with women and people of color. One key aspect of that struggle is Bloomberg’s own company, Bloomberg LP. Indeed, some of the candidate’s purportedly most outrageous remarks were originally memorialized by his own employees in an actual booklet that has been passed around, samizdat-style, for decades by his former staffers, journalists, and political operatives.
The booklet — “The Portable Bloomberg: The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Bloomberg” — was crafted by Bloomberg LP employees looking to roast their boss by compiling his allegedly most crude, sexist, and seemingly off-color quips over the years. It was presented to him as a gift for his 48th birthday, on Valentine’s Day 1990.
The booklet first turned up nearly two decades ago, when Bloomberg ran for mayor of New York City.
Insider recently obtained a copy of the booklet, and is publishing it below. The Washington Post first published the document on Saturday morning, as part of a larger package about Bloomberg’s behavior toward women. The paper’s story builds upon Business Insider’s original investigation, in November 2019, into a number of lawsuits filed by former Bloomberg employees.
The journalist Michael Wolff disclosed the existence of “The Portable Bloomberg” in September 2001, in the middle of Bloomberg’s first campaign for mayor of New York City. It was a “smoking gun of sorts: an actual example of literal hard-ass words,” Wolff wrote in New York magazine, which extracted some of the book’s more salacious epigrams.
Wolff verified the book’s contents by contacting a former Bloomberg executive named Elisabeth DeMarse (an editor’s note introducing the book is signed “E. DeM.”), who told him that Bloomberg was touched by the gift. Her introductory note made clear: “Yes, these are all actual quotes. No, nothing has been embellished or exaggerated. And yes, some things were too outrageous to include.”
DeMarse said Bloomberg was quite proud of the book at the time. “He loves things that are about himself,” she told Wolff. “He saw this as a tribute, a testimonial — which it was. He wanted everyone to get a copy.” When reached for comment, DeMarse said she had nothing to add to what she told Wolff in 2001.
Wolff revealed a smattering of some of Bloomberg’s purported remarks quoted in the booklet. For example, there’s Bloomberg’s purported quote about how a competitor is a “cokehead, womanizing, fag” on page 14, and “if Jesus was a Jew, why does he have a Puerto Rican first name?” on page 24.
“If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains,” goes another purported Bloomberg quote on page 27, “they’d go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale’s.” On the same page: “I know for a fact that any self-respecting woman who walks past a construction site and doesn’t get a whistle will turn around and walk past again and again until she does get one.”
A Bloomberg spokesperson described the booklet to the New York Post in 2001 as a “gag book,” that included “comments that may or may not have been said.”
Wolff isn’t the only journalist to have written about “The Portable Bloomberg.” In the past few years, the document has been cited by outlets such as Mother Jones, Gawker, Slate, The New York Times, and ABC News. The latter obtained —but not did not publish — a copy of the booklet.
The booklet adds to the Bloomberg campaign’s growing number of potential liabilities
Bloomberg campaign spokesperson Stu Loeser told The New York Times in November that “Mike has come to see that some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong… He believes his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life.”
Earlier this week, a 2015 audio clip surfaced in which the billionaire defended the controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy he oversaw as mayor and condoned racial profiling by the police. He released a statement on Tuesday apologizing for his overuse of the policy. The former mayor also faced criticism after the Associated Press unearthed comments on Wednesday in which he attributed the end of redlining, a discriminatory housing practice, to causing the 2008 financial crisis.
In November, Business Insider reported on court records going back 20 years in which multiple women accused Bloomberg of permitting his company to become a “reckless playground” for male senior executives to “target young, female, naive employees” for sex. Two of those women alleged that they were sexually assaulted by Bloomberg LP executives and terminated after raising complaints. The records contained multiple allegations of Bloomberg making crude comments in the presence of underlings.
Insider reached out to Bloomberg LP and the Bloomberg campaign for comment. A Bloomberg LP spokesperson referred Insider to the campaign for comment. A campaign spokesperson told Insider that, “Mike simply did not say the things somebody wrote in this gag gift, which has been circulating for 30 years and has been quoted in every previous election Mike has been in.”
“Virtually all of this has been reported over the past two decades,” the spokesperson added. “In any large organization, there are going to be complaints — but Mike simply does not tolerate any kind of discrimination or harassment, and he’s created cultures that are all about equality and inclusion.”
Select quotes purportedly from Bloomberg and referenced in “The Portable Bloomberg”
On liberals: “The only liberal I trust is a rich old liberal. Why? Because they’re old enough to understand what they’re saying, and they’re rich enough to pay for what they say!” (Page 31)
On computers: “You know why computers will never take the place of people? Because a computer would say that the sex of the person giving you a blow job doesn’t matter!” (Page 18)
On the Bloomberg terminal: “It will do everything, including give you a blowjob. I guess that puts a lot of you girls out of business.”(Page 18)
On marriage: “Sex with someone you love… is sex with someone you love. The plusses are you don’t have to buy dinner and the only thing you catch with callouses,” and “Whenever my wife catches me eyeing some broad, she’s very careful to turn to me and say, ‘That’s the most expensive piece of ass in the world!'” (Page 29)
On capitalism: “I believe in the capitalist system and free enterprise. The only exception is 8th Avenue, where people pay for what they could get for free.” (Page 16)
On being told “no”: “Let me tell you something, buddy boy, I have pictures of you and they’re not with your wife.”(Page 10)
On restaurants: “There are three types of favorite restaurants: Where would you go if you had to eat there forever — I’d say ’21’. Then, where would you go for your last meal — Le Cygne. Then, there’s where you would take your wife for your last meal — McDonald’s.” (Page 30)
On salesmanship: “Make the customer think he’s getting laid when he’s getting fucked.” (Page 7)