[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/20/art.bobloomy0620.gi.jpg caption="Mayor Bloomberg introduced Sen. Obama at an event in New York City in March."]
(CNN) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted unfounded e-mail speculation over Barack Obama’s religion today, calling them “lies” and “wedge politics at its worst,” according to prepared remarks released by his office.
“Of course, in any election, one candidate’s supporters will look to pick holes in the other candidate’s statements – on Israel and everything else. And that’s fine. …,” Bloomberg said in Boca Raton. “But as we do that, let’s make sure that we, as Jews and as voters, keep the conversation focused on the facts and not let it descend into false rumor and innuendo.
“Unfortunately, we’ve already seen that happen. As I’m sure many of you know, there are plenty of emails floating around the Internet targeting Jewish voters and saying that Senator Obama is secretly a Muslim, and a radical one at that. Let’s call those rumors what they are: Lies.”
“They are cloaked in concern for Israel, but the real concern is about partisan politics. Israel is just being used as a pawn, which is not that surprising, since some people are willing to stoop to any level to win an election."
Bloomberg, who has been the object of both presidential and vice presidential speculation this election cycle, also praised McCain for denouncing the rumors.
Earlier this month, both Obama and McCain rejected a proposal by the Independent mayor for a joint townhall to be held in the city.