Last night, Mayor Bloomberg appeared on the Daily Show to discuss the most controversial topic New Yorkers have ever encountered: The sliced bagel tax, which Jon Stewart suggested was "anti-Semitic." The Stewart asked Bloomberg about that little issue—the mosque and community center proposed for two blocks from the World Trade Center site—"You have spoken out very eloquently in favor of people being able to do what they’re able to do on private property. Is that your feeling?" Bloomberg responded (rough transcript via WSJ; video below):

When I went to school, I, we studied the constitution. It says you have a right to say what you want to say, which means pray to whomever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. And it’s just not the government’s business to tell you what to say. You went on and on about Glen Beck. (The opening of the show focused on Beck.) He has a right to say anything he wants. That’s what great about America. And people say, well, in Saudi Arabia you can’t build a church. Yes. That’s the difference (between) being in Saudi Arabia and America. And I, it’s just plain and simple that. Whether you like the mosque or don’t like the mosque, you don’t have to go. There’s already another mosque down there within four block of the World Trade Center. There’s porno places, there’s fast-food places. It’s a vibrant community. It’s New York. (applause)


Stewart said, "Why did you have to look at me when you said porno places?"

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Bloomberg also predicted that the controversy would go away after the elections, "This is plain and simple people trying to stir up things to get publicity and trying to polarize people so that they can get some votes. And I don’t think that most of these people who are yelling and screaming really care one way or another.”