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RIP Ed Koch, Master of Media Relations

This morning marked the passing of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch. We weren’t around when he was patrolling the city, and he didn’t go for the big-money advocacy of Michael Bloomberg or the “bad cop” bluster of Rudy Giuliani. But he was a master of media relations. Always ready with a quip for the press corps, he knew how to work reporters to get his message out. In honor of his life, we would like to join others in posting some of his best quotes.

  • On public relations: “I’m the sort of person who will never get ulcers. Why? Because I say exactly what I think. I’m the sort of person who might give other people ulcers.”
  • On damage control: “You punch me, I punch back. I do not believe it’s good for one’s self-respect to be a punching bag.”
  • On messaging: “Tone can be as important as text.”
  • On career advice: “Enjoy what you’re doing or don’t do it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult or won’t challenge you, but if you are involved in something that’s causing you to say, ‘Why am I doing this?’ then you’re in the wrong business.”
  • On politics: “If you agree with me on nine out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.”
  • On falling out of favor with the public (and losing elections): “People get tired of you. So they decided to throw me out. And so help me God, as the numbers were coming in, I said to myself, ‘I’m free at last.’”
  • On privacy: “Whether I am straight or gay or bisexual is nobody’s business but mine.”
  • On Donald Trump: “Piggy, piggy, piggy.
  • On mortality: “I had a conversation with God: ‘Take me totally or don’t take me. No salami tactics.’ He’s been very good about it.”
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