Originally published in The New York Times. Photo by Bridget Bennett.

As Michael Bloomberg prepares a presidential run, his history of crude remarks is likely to draw scrutiny. His team said some were “disrespectful.”

It was a cheeky birthday gift for a hard-charging boss, a 32-page book of one-liners compiled by colleagues at his company. “The Portable Bloomberg: The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Bloomberg,” presented in 1990 to the future mayor of New York City, even featured drawings of its namesake in gladiatorial garb.

One remark attributed to Mr. Bloomberg went like this: “If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale’s.” Another line, purportedly Mr. Bloomberg’s sales pitch for his eponymous computer terminal, said the machine will “do everything,” including oral sex, although a cruder term was used.

“I guess,” Mr. Bloomberg was quoted as saying, “that puts a lot of you girls out of business.”

When the pamphlet resurfaced during Mr. Bloomberg’s 2001 mayoral run, he dismissed the comments as “borscht belt jokes” and said he did not recall saying them. The story line receded after the 9/11 terror attacks, and Mr. Bloomberg went on to win election three times over.

But the comments revealed a cruder side of Mr. Bloomberg, now 77 and a potential presidential candidate, who made his billions in the towel-snapping culture of Wall Street decades before #MeToo became a household term.

Lawsuits portrayed the early days of his company as a frat house, with employees bragging about sexual exploits. Even after entering politics, Mr. Bloomberg’s cavalier attitude caused trouble: In 2012, the mayor, while admiring a woman at a party, urged two guests to “look at the ass on her.” Just last year, he cast doubt on harassment allegations against Charlie Rose, the disgraced CBS anchor. “I don’t know how true all of it is,” Mr. Bloomberg told The New York Times.

On Wednesday, after inquiries from The Times, Mr. Bloomberg’s team issued a statement addressing his history of insensitive comments.

“Mike has come to see that some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong,” said a spokesman, Stu Loeser, who served as Mr. Bloomberg’s City Hall press secretary and is now advising his prospective presidential bid. “He believes his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life.”

Mr. Bloomberg is loath to admit fault, and the statement stops short of an apology. But it signals a recognition among aides that his behavior — little-known outside New York City circles — will face heavy scrutiny should he enter the 2020 presidential race, at a time when questions of gender and workplace conduct have taken center stage.

A majority of Democratic primary voters are women. The party is trying to unseat a president who has faced multiple allegations of sexual assault, in a year where a record number of female candidates are competing in the Democratic field. And cultural norms have shifted in the aftermath of the revelations that fueled the #MeToo movement: former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., for instance, was forced to explain his penchant for hugging strangers after several women described feeling uncomfortable with his physical interactions.

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