Ford talks graffiti - but little else

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford got into an exchange with reporters at a photo op on Thursday, telling them he was only interested in talking about his plan to clean graffiti from the city's walls despite questions about the federal election and other issues affecting the city.

Mayor tells media 'I'm going to talk about what I want to talk about'

Mayor Rob Ford uses a power washer to scour graffiti off a wall in downtown Toronto on Thursday. (Jamie Strashin/CBC)

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has been criticized during the federal election campaign for staying on message and taking too few questions from reporters.  

But Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is also facing questions about his media availability after a testy exchange with reporters on Thursday.

In his only media availability this week, Ford invited reporters to watch him scrub away graffiti as part of his campaign promise to clean up Toronto. 

Dressed in jeans and an old sweatshirt, Ford used a power washer to blast graffiti off a wall near St. Clair Avenue West and Oakwood Avenue. After the photo op was finished, reporters asked Ford about other topics, including a recent decision by Toronto Community Housing to sell off some real estate, council members' expenses and how the federal parties’ platforms will affect Toronto.

Two excerpts from the exchange that followed are attached to this story in audio files.

Here’s how Ford reacted to the reporters’ questions.

"I don’t really want to comment on the federal election," said Ford. "I’m just taking care of the city and that’s what I’m going to concentrate on. I am here to talk about graffiti, not the federal election."

Ford, who ran on a platform of public accountability, then moved toward his vehicle, prompting reporters to press him further on city-related issues.

"To tell you the truth I’m going to talk about what I want to talk about," said Ford. "Right now, I’m going to talk about cleaning up city."

Soon after, Ford climbed into the driver's seat of his personal van and drove away.