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Bloomberg: St. Patrick's parade boycott a mistake

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Credit: Charles Eckert

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it is counterproductive to boycott the St. Patrick's Day parade on Fifth Avenue, as his successor, Bill de Blasio, and other city officials plan to do because it doesn't allow gay groups to march with their banners or symbols.

Speaking in his first major interview since leaving office Dec. 31, Bloomberg told Yahoo News' Katie Couric that "you force people in corners" by skipping the parade.

"By boycotting it, it doesn't get it done. If anything, it hardens the views and makes it harder for anybody to change," he said in the interview posted online Friday. He did not directly aim his remark at de Blasio, saying "I respect his decision" and repeating a vow he made before of "not having me ever criticize him."

Although Bloomberg considers the ban on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups marching openly to be "misguided policy," Bloomberg as mayor marched in the annual parade down Fifth Avenue.

"I tried to get them to change it and was unsuccessful at doing that," Bloomberg said.

De Blasio said Friday afternoon that he hasn't seen the interview but stands by his boycott of the parade "because it's not inclusive."

Bloomberg also reiterated his support of charter schools -- some of which have been at odds with de Blasio.

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