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Mayor's Girlfriend Says President Obama 'Has a Lot to Learn'

By Jill Colvin | October 2, 2011 11:25am
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Diana Taylor attend the 'Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty' Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2011 in New York City.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Diana Taylor attend the 'Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty' Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2011 in New York City.
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Larry Busacca/Getty Images

MANHATTAN — While Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have learned his lesson about letting loose on his Washington counterparts, it appears his long-time girlfriend, Diana Taylor, speaks her mind more freely.

In a new interview with The New York Observer, Taylor is unabashed in her criticism of President Barack Obama, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and the slew of Republican presidential hopefuls.

While Taylor said Obama is “a very intelligent man,” she said he also “has a lot to learn.”

“For somebody’s who’s going to come in and be the great unifier — you know, that hopey-changey stuff — it hasn’t worked very well. The country is more divided now than it’s ever been. And he doesn’t appreciate other people and what they do,” she said.

Taylor also took aim at what she considered to be his biggest mistakes, including failing to support businesses.

“He should be a champion for this country and he’s not. Because that’s where the jobs are going to come from. They’re not going to come from government,” she said.

She also criticized his approach to passing healthcare reform and regulations to the financial industry.

“He basically told Congress, ‘You know what? I want a health care bill, do something,’” she said. “The last time I checked, the president was supposed to sit down and figure out what he wanted and then get Congress to go along with it. And we got a mess. And exactly the same thing with financial regulation and regulatory reform,” she said. “We have a mess.”

She was more guarded, but clearly as unimpressed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, whose Senate seat Republicans had urged her to consider running for last year.

Taylor said she thought long and hard about whether she might want to head to Washington, but ultimately turned the opportunity down.

“When I really thought about it, what attracted me to the idea was the race because I knew I could win that race. It was the thought of actually having to go and do that job, that was really not all that appealing,” she said.

While she said that Gillibrand "works very hard” she had little else to say about New York's junior senator.

“I don’t agree with her on anything—," she said, reportedly stopping herself. “Some things that…,” she paused. “I think she just works really hard."

But it wasn't just Democrats who were the targets of Taylors' barbs. She also slammed the current crop of Republican presidential hopefuls, including Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

“I don’t really like any of them very much. A lot of them scare me… a lot,” she said.

But one person Taylor refused to weigh in on was the politics of the Mayor, a Democrat-turned Republican-turned Independent.

Asked by the Observer where their politics clashed, she reportedly shook her head:

“Not going there!”

Taylor, who spent years in finance and later went on to become Assistant Secretary to Gov. George Pataki, Superintendent of Banks, and a managing director at Wolfensohn Fund Management, also spoke about living in the shadow of her powerful — and shorter — partner.

She said that she understood that staying out of the spotlight was part of her job.

“One of the things that you just need to remember is that it’s not about you,” she said. “He’s the elected official and you’re there for support. And if people want you to do something, you do it and if they don’t, you don’t.  He’s the one who was elected and I wasn’t.”

And despite some scars from being hit over the head by television cameras racing to catch the mayor, she said there are also perks to the job.

“Actually I love observing life. And it’s a great place to observe from. You see a lot in this kind of position and it’s incredibly rewarding,” she said.