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Bloomberg takes tour of downtown Flushing

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Flanked by members of the Chinese business community, Republican mayoral candidate Mike Bloomberg walked through the streets of downtown Flushing Saturday afternoon, stopping off at Chinese bakeries and restaurants and shaking hands with anyone who would extend theirs.

The route, which went along Main Street and down Roosevelt Avenue to Prince Street, was similar to that taken by U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) when she was campaigning last year and by Rick Lazio, her Republican opponent. In late March, Public Advocate Mark Green, a Democrat running for mayor, also took a similar tour through Flushing, led by members of the Asian-American business community.

An Asian-American man wearing a Mike Bloomberg sticker on his suit startled most passers-by and the candidate as he screamed frantically in Mandarin to get people’s attention. The tour, arranged by the Flushing Chinese Business Association, was the second stop in a day of campaigning for Bloomberg, who had just come from Brooklyn and said he was going next to the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, and then back to Brooklyn for dinner in Williamsburg.

“Flushing is what America is all about,” he said in an interview with the TimesLedger “Just take a look at the streets. It’s an enormously diverse community of people who work together. It’s a community that has a lot of pride in New York City and in themselves.”

As Bloomberg walked down Roosevelt Avenue, many people who passed by seemed startled by the commotion, but some recognized the candidate, saying the name “Bloomberg” interspersed with Mandarin. Toward the end of the tour, Bloomberg interrupted himself while speaking to a reporter to shake hands with one Hispanic man.

“Mike Bloomberg,” the mayoral candidate said, introducing himself. “You know, I can only tell you I am struggling with my Spanish every day. Muchos Gracias.”

The tour through Flushing comes almost one month before the primary election, in which Bloomberg will face off against his Republican challenger, Herman Badillo, the former chairman of the City University of New York. As the primary nears, Bloomberg has spent more time campaigning in Queens, he said, because it is the second largest borough in population, after Brooklyn.

“Queens, you know, is one of the biggest boroughs,” he said, “so you probably spend a little more time. The way to win this election is to talk to everyone you possibly can in every single borough.”

Reach reporter Chris Fuchs by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

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