NEW YORK (Reuters) - Toronto’s self-admitted, crack-experimenting mayor Rob Ford hit the late night talk show circuit on Monday, telling ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel he “wasn’t elected to be perfect” but that his record running Canada’s biggest city spoke for itself.
Ford, who became a popular target for late-night TV hosts including Kimmel after admitting to smoking crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor”, appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” where they looked at videos and photos of some of his more colorful antics during his years in office.
Ford, who posted messages and pictures of himself on Twitter as he made his way around Los Angeles in recent days drumming up entertainment production business for Toronto, wore a black suit, black shirt and bright orange tie and pocket square for his appearance.
Kimmel, who said he had become “obsessed” with Ford, even going to the Los Angeles airport to pick him up, mopped the brow of the noticeably sweating mayor and joked that he would be selling the handkerchief on auction site eBay.
Ford was stripped of many of his powers by Toronto city council but has refused calls to step down after media outlets reported they had seen video of him smoking from what appeared to be a crack pipe.
Ford seemed to shrug off, rather than explain, many of the antics Kimmel asked about. “I’m moving on. People are going to judge me based on my proven track record,” he said.
Kimmel introduced Ford by saying he had “smoked his way into our national consciousness”. When Kimmel broached Ford’s drinking saying “If you are an alcoholic...,” Ford threw his head back and laughed out loud before saying, “I wasn’t elected to be perfect, Jimmy.”
“I’ve been responsible with taxpayer money for over 14 years,” he said. “Ninety percent of what I said I was going to do, I’ve done. Toronto is booming right now.”
When the crack video surfaced last year, Ford initially said he did not smoke the drug, but admitted in November that he had indeed done so. The revelation and his decision to remain in office drew ridicule, especially from TV comics.
Ford also repeated on Monday’s show that he expects to be returned to office in Toronto’s municipal election in October.
In another embarrassing episode, a video of Ford ranting in a Jamaican accent and slurring his words was posted online in January. He conceded he had been drinking and described it as a “minor setback,” saying his personal life did not interfere with his job.
After viewing a clip of the incident on Monday evening, Ford explained that he “just went out with the friends ... I have a lot of Jamaican friends, and that’s how we speak.”
The Kimmel show’s other guest was “The Great Gonzo,” one of the Muppet characters.
Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Mark Heinrich