Thursday, February 28, 2008


Dance Number One Ends... Michael Bloomberg officially takes himself out of the presidential pool -- really, really this time!

But, of course, he wants to be noticed -- and courted:

In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to work to steer the national conversation away from partisanship and toward unity; away from ideology and toward common sense; away from sound bites and toward substance. And while I have always said I am not running for president, the race is too important to sit on the sidelines, and so I have changed my mind in one area. If a candidate takes an independent, nonpartisan approach — and embraces practical solutions that challenge party orthodoxy — I’ll join others in helping that candidate win the White House.

"Helping" can mean many things -- an endorsement, perhaps? But does Bloomberg really have a constituency that could sway votes to the Democratic or Republican nominee?

Or, how about being someone's vice-presidential choice?

Well, Obama certainly doesn't need Bloomberg's billions on the ticket. Would he lend Obama some "gravitas" (that's what Dick Cheney brought to George W. Bush way back when)? Perhaps, but he doesn't give Obama any foreign-policy experience. And Obama doesn't need him to win New York.

On the other hand, Bloomberg came to McCain's defense over the New York Times story. Could McCain select him? But would he have to promise not to use any of Bloomberg's money for the run? And what would conservatives do if McCain selected a liberal Republican independent as his running mate?

Dance Number Two begins...

UPDATE: For those wondering to what I was referring when I said "dance," let me reiterate and expand on what I wrote in the Comments section: The "dance" to which I refer was Bloomberg's "No, I'm not running" official stance contrasted with the other signals that he was sending -- having his right hand man say the exact opposite off the record, hiring pollsters to test his chances, meeting with the Perot people, having his top strategist conveniently release a book about "independent" politicians, etc. My Post colleague Dave Seifman addresses Bloomberg's less-than-above-board game-playing. In short, this speculation wasn't just pundit-driven (and I'm not saying that because I was one of the first to bring up the point).

Furthermore, had the major-party nominees been say, Hillary and Mitt Romney, I'm pretty sure that he would have been even more tempted to get in.

Dance Number Two refers to Bloomberg's attempt to make himself relevant in the fall campaign.

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