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A Bloomberg Bid for President? Guests Won't Say

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  • Ram Lau
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/nyregion/04mayor.html A Bloomberg Bid for President? Guests Won t Say By DIANE CARDWELL Sending a signal that despite his
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2006
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      http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/nyregion/04mayor.html
      A Bloomberg Bid for President? Guests Won't Say
      By DIANE CARDWELL

      Sending a signal that despite his protestations to the contrary he is
      at least toying with a run for president, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
      dined Wednesday night with Al From, a guru of centrist Democratic
      politics and one of the chief policy minds behind Bill Clinton's 1992
      victory.

      The dinner took place at the home of Michael Steinhardt, a longtime
      friend of Mr. Bloomberg's and a former chairman of the Democratic
      Leadership Council. Also there was Mr. Bloomberg's chief political
      adviser, Kevin Sheekey, who several months agogave the mayor a
      blueprint for running for president as a self-financed independent and
      has been working ever since to bring Mr. Bloomberg and the rest of the
      world around to that idea.

      None of the guests would discuss what was said, and the dinner may
      merely have been one stop in Mr. Bloomberg's routine travels through
      influential political circles.

      But the fact that it happened suggests that Mr. Bloomberg has not shut
      down the idea of running. As the founder and chief executive officer
      of the Democratic Leadership Council, Mr. From helped develop and
      promote a brand of pragmatic, center-left politics that guided Mr.
      Clinton into the White House and that he says is still the key to victory.

      As Mr. Sheekey has continued to promote the idea of a Bloomberg
      candidacy among lobbyists and other political operatives, the mayor
      himself has sent mixed signals about his plans. To reporters, he has
      steadfastly denied having presidential aspirations, saying that he
      intends to sell his company and create a philanthropic foundation. He
      is even buying a $45 million Beaux Arts mansion near his Upper East
      Side home to serve as the foundation headquarters.

      But at the same time, Mr. Bloomberg has clearly been enjoying the
      guessing game and the enhanced status it gives him. He has talked up
      the notion of running at dinner parties, suggesting that he could
      spend $500 million of his own money on a campaign. When asked this
      spring at a fund-raiser for Representative Christopher Shays in
      Greenwich, Conn., if he was contemplating a bid, he said, "Absolutely
      not," and then added, "And anybody who's running will say exactly that."

      While speculation over Mr. Bloomberg's plans continues as a kind of
      political parlor game, it is also making converts among monied New
      Yorkers who like the idea of taking the mayor's nonpartisan,
      businesslike approach to the White House.

      It is an approach that Mr. From has said voters crave and that Mr.
      Bloomberg, a nominal Republican, has been highlighting as he
      intensifies his travels beyond New York, speaking out on a range of
      issues and raising his national profile.

      "Most people really aren't about ideology," Mr. From told The New York
      Times earlier this year. "Most people really are about, `Let's get
      something done that's going to make my life better.' "

      Indeed, the dissatisfaction among voters with both the Democratic and
      the Republican Parties has left open the possibility of a third-party
      candidate, Mr. From said in an interview this year, "but third-party
      candidates are hard to do."
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