By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM July 2, 2012
It’s not just ice cream that’s melting down out there.
The region’s politicians, accustomed to running the world from climate-controlled capitols and S.U.V.’s, are being thrust into the sweltering streets by this record heat wave, handing out water, touring tree-strewn roads and assuring the sweaty public that cooler days and fully functioning power grids lie ahead.
But beneath the blue blazers and oxford shirts, their tempers — along with the temperatures — are rising.
After a helicopter tour of a water-parched county, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey ran out of patience on Saturday when a reporter asked a question about his plans for a legislative session.
“Are you stupid?” Mr. Christie shouted. “On topic! On topic! Next question.”
A few seconds later, the governor walked off, but not before adding: “I’m sorry for the idiot over there. Take care.”
And on Monday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City became confused, and then angered, when asked at an outdoor news conference about a brawl that broke out at a public pool in Brooklyn on Friday.
“I had no idea there was an incident. What was the incident? Did someone go swimming?” the mayor asked about the fight, which shut down McCarren Pool and was widely reported in the New York media.
The reporter explained what had happened: Lifeguards had been attacked by rowdy teenagers at the pool, which had been closed for 28 years before it was reopened by the mayor in a public ceremony on Thursday.
“Well, what do you want me to say?” Mr. Bloomberg snapped.
The mayor, who had rolled up the sleeves of his pink oxford shirt, heaped on a dollop of sarcasm — “O.K., we’ll put a cop next to every lifeguard in the city” — before dismissing the question entirely.
“Come on, think about it!” he angrily urged the reporter.
A mayoral spokesman, Stu Loeser, said later that Mr. Bloomberg had simply not been briefed on the clash. “There are scuffles in city schools every single day,” Mr. Loeser wrote in an e-mail. “The mayor doesn’t get a briefing on every scuffle in every school or pool — and certainly not ones where there are zero arrests and medical attention is refused.”
Mr. Loeser did not reply to a question about how the mayor was coping with the heat. A Christie spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Outside New York, the heat wave has had a more serious impact on those who run the government.
In Virginia, members of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s staff have lost power and, in some cases, property: the home of the governor’s chief of staff, Martin Kent, was significantly damaged when a tree fell on it.
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