Bloomberg: Primary? What Primary?

Bloomie
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Just in time for the Iowa caucus, Mayor Bloomberg has firmly planted himself in the headlines again as a possible presidential candidate. After a Washington Post report about his attendance at a gathering of bipartisan political leaders yesterday, the New York daily papers have competing stories about how this indicates his continued interest in a White House run. The University of Oklahoma conference will be hosted by "well-connected Democrats and Republicans who could help launch him as an independent presidential candidate," reports the New York Post, and will give Bloomberg "a potential launching pad for a presidential bid," according to the News. Which sounds like speculation, basically, except the Times assures us that "Bloomberg is growing increasingly enchanted with the idea of an independent presidential bid, and his aides are aggressively laying the groundwork for him to run." Wow. We assumed he was at least titillated with the idea. But enchanted? This must be serious.

From the Times:

[The Mayor] and his closest advisers are positioning themselves so that if the mayor declares his candidacy, a turnkey campaign infrastructure will virtually be in place.


Bloomberg aides have studied the process for starting independent campaigns, which formally begins March 5, when third-party candidates can begin circulating nominating petitions in Texas.

And…

One concern among Mr. Bloomberg’s inner circle is whether a loss would label him a spoiler — “a rich Ralph Nader” — who cost a more viable candidate the presidency in a watershed political year. One person close to the mayor, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to be seen discussing internal strategy, stressed that Mr. Bloomberg would run only if he believed he could win.


Advisers have also told the Times that Bloomberg would consider spending $1 billion of his personal fortune on a campaign. All of which is pretty good evidence that Hizzoner's serious about this stuff, but as far as we're concerned, the biggest proof is in the papers. That is, the fact that he's on the cover of several of the country's largest newspapers just a handful of days before the actual candidates will first be tested shows how calculated his press campaign already is. Which is good, because we were just thinking what this primary season really needs is an A-Rod!

Bloomberg Moves Closer to Running for President [NYT]
Bloomberg, key moderates to brainstorm on third-party Presidential bid [NYDN]
THE BATTLE FOR INDEPENDENTS [NYP]