Mayor Bloomberg apparently doesn't recall cooperating with the New Yorker journalist who, in an 8,000-word story, reported that the billionaire had paid for a secret poll assessing NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's mayoral prospects. Asked today by two different reporters if that story was indeed true, Bloomberg replied, "What New Yorker report? There's a lot of reports in the news."

The exchange happened at a press conference at One Police Plaza where Bloomberg, Kelly, the Manhattan and Brooklyn DAs, and a slew of other law enforcement officials had come to highlight the largest gun seizure in the city's history (our report on that is forthcoming). The mayor had just agreed to "take a couple of off-topic questions."

Leading up to the June 10 filing deadline for all mayoral candidates, at least one poll was conducted by a Republican firm to test Kelly's prospects. The backer of the poll had remained a mystery, until the New Yorker's report was released today:

In early June, the Mayor, according to two Bloomberg advisers, was sympathetic to an effort by some of his supporters to draw Ray Kelly into the race. Bloomberg secretly financed a poll by his own longtime pollster, Douglas Schoen, to help convince Kelly that he could win, but Kelly declined.

"I dunno what you're talking about," the mayor said after being asked a second time about the report. "We're here to talk about guns, let's get serious."