Encouraged by the lack of any viable electable candidates on the right, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is slowly moving forward with his third party bid.
On Sunday, the mayor will join Democratic and Republican elder statesmen at the University of Oklahoma in what the conveners are billing as an effort to pressure the major party candidates to renounce partisan gridlock.
Former Senator David L. Boren of Oklahoma, who organized the session with former Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat of Georgia, suggested in an interview that if the prospective major party nominees failed within two months to formally embrace bipartisanship and address the fundamental challenges facing the nation, "I would be among those who would urge Mr. Bloomberg to very seriously consider running for president as an independent."
Next week's meeting, reported on Sunday in The Washington Post, comes as the mayor's advisers have been quietly canvassing potential campaign consultants about their availability in the coming months.
What is it about being Mayor of New York that makes some politicians think they're anywhere qualified on foreign relations matters - an are wholly untouched by a city's Mayor, even if it is New York.
Sure, Rudy Giuliani thinks he's qualified to fight terrorism because, after all, he oversaw the cleanup after 9/11 -- the biggest janitorial project any city has ever encountered (next to New Orleans Katrina cleanup perhaps).
And Mr. Bloomberg himself has become more candid in conversations with friends and associates about his interest in running, according to participants in those talks. Despite public denials, the mayor has privately suggested scenarios in which he might be a viable candidate: for instance, if the opposing major party candidates are poles apart, like Mike Huckabee, a Republican, versus Barack Obama or John Edwards as the Democratic nominee.
A final decision by Mr. Bloomberg about whether to run is unlikely before February. Still, he 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. If Democrats and Republicans have settled on their presumptive nominees at that point, Mr. Bloomberg will have to decide whether he believes those candidates are vulnerable to a challenge from a pragmatic, progressive centrist, which is how he would promote himself.
It now appears that Bloomberg's recent denials of interest if the job were just so much bull. Gee, I'm surprised...
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