Eliot Spitzer pushed back at criticism from Mayor Michael Bloomberg Friday that the former governor was biting the hand that feeds the city by badmouthing Wall Street.

Spitzer, running in the Democratic primary for city comptroller, has said he would transform the office to make it a stronger watchdog over the financial industry.

Bloomberg, speaking to reporters at a morning event at Gracie Mansion, said "Wall Street is a very big employer and taxpayer in this city," and the city's elected officials should "champion the industries that employ our citizens and pay the taxes," according to an account on the New York Observer's Politicker website.

He added, "if there's something wrong, it's not the comptroller's job to investigate that."

Spitzer pointed to Thursday's federal indictment of hedge fund firm SAC Capital for alleged insider trading and said the case underscored the need for continued vigilance over the financial markets.

"The criminal indictment of SAC Capital serves as an important reminder that we need vigorous, continued scrutiny of practices that undermine integrity in our markets, destroy value and ultimately hurt middle class investors," Spitzer said in a statement.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Earlier in the week during a meeting of the Financial Control board, Bloomberg said it was "not very helpful" to the city's economy when Spitzer criticized Wall Street in the campaign. As state attorney general, Spitzer prosecuted several civil and criminal cases against Wall Street firms and individuals.

With AP