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Bloomberg Gets Emotional In Speech Before Civic Group

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Delivering his final speech before an influential business group, Mayor Michael Bloomberg showed a side he doesn't often display in public, as he grew emotional more than once as he talked about his future, with many veterans of his 12 years in office also in attendance. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

For the mayor, one job ends this month, and another is born, literally.

"My daughter Georgina is going to welcome the latest member of the Bloomberg family into the world," Bloomberg said.

That has the mayor thinking about his grandson's future and the future of the city where he will live, and like some grandfathers-to-be, even the often buttoned-up Bloomberg is misting up.

"If we all pull together and stand up for one another, we will remain what we are today: the greatest city in the world," Bloomberg said. "That is my heartfelt hope, that is my wish for the future, and that is what I want more than anything else for my little grandson, and all the generations to come."

It was a farewell speech before the Association for a Better New York, a business-friendly crowd studded with old friends and old hands from 12 years in office.

The goodbye had Bloomberg's voice cracking several times as he reflected on what he sees as the city's everlasting principles.

"When two people love each other, and want to commit their lives to one another, we don't stand in the way because of their gender. We issue them a marriage license," Bloomberg said. "When a faith community wants to build a house in a particular neighborhood, we don't tell them to look someplace else. We stand up for their religious freedom."

It was the mayor's eighth speech to the influential group. Bloomberg first spoke to the group a month after taking office, in February 2002. It was under very different circumstances.

"The economy was reeling, our souls were crying, and I think he put a collective hug around the city and gave us hope and a vision that we could recover," said Bill Rudin of the Association for a Better New York.

Recover with steely, steady economic development.

Bloomberg says it must continue, but so must safety nets and anti-poverty programs. They are priorities of his successor, about whom the current mayor says he's optimistic.

Still, his audience didn't seem to be the majority who have said that the city should head in a new direction. They toasted where it is now, they smiled when the mayor said he's prepared to change diapers, and they gave him a standing ovation when he left.

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