5/14/2007

All indications are Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Hagel poised for White House run as third-party ticket...






New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has continuously denied that he intends to get into the current race for the Republican presidential nomination, but one could be fooled by his recent decision to reopen his campaign website mikebloomberg.com, which his office claims it is doing simply to allow Americans to see where he stands on the issues. Interestingly, he only addresses domestic issues directly. To quote the letter signed by Bloomberg at the top of the site's homepage,
This site will help you learn more about the issues important to me and the causes I've supported in business, philanthropy, and public life.

You'll find information about the work being done in the public and private sectors to improve schools, reform health care, keep illegal guns off of our streets and bring nonpartisan solutions to government.
Bloomberg won reelection just last year, so it is unclear why he feels the urgency to reopen his campaign website now, but that is not the only indication that the Mayor is considering a presidential run. This past weekend he gave a speech outlining his NATIONAL energy policy, during which the New York Times asserted he "sounded a lot like a presidential candidate", though his office denied that he was motivated by ambition and reasserted his pledge to serve the entirety of his current term.

Chuck Hagel also indicated strongly on Face the Nation, or at least did not deny, that he would entertain the possibility of running with Mayor Bloomberg on a third party ticket, which was absolutely shocking but also raises a very intriguing possibility as it would be the most formidable third party candidacy in a century. Simply going off of what can be found currently on Mayor Bloomberg's campaign website, it is clear to me that if he and Sen. Hagel are plotting to create their own party and run Bloomberg would be responsible for domestic issues and Hagel would take up the torch on foreign policy.
As an former-Marine who served honorably in Vietnam as well as the only Republican Senator to take a radically anti-war position and embrace the idea of precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. Hagel has refused to close the door on a possible run for the Republican nomination, but it is unlikely that he would stand a chance considering the fact that Republican loyalists have yet to embrace the anti-war movement in any substantial way, and in fact still supports the war on principle overwhelmingly. A quick visit to chuckhagel.com provided no indication that Hagel was brewing a national campaign, and in fact it appears as if someone cleverly snapped up the domain name in anticipation of a Hagel candidacy.

A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University indicated that Mayor Bloomberg has a much higher job approval rating in New York than his predecessor and current Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, though Giuliani was quite popular in his own right for a Republican in one of the country's most liberal cities, and would make a better Chief Executive than Giuliani.
  • Say 46 - 16 percent that Bloomberg is a better mayor than Rudolph Giuliani, with 34 percent who say both are the same;
  • Say 46 - 31 percent that Bloomberg would make a better President than Giuliani.
Other polling indicates that Bloomberg would have a tough uphill fight to overcome a 50% unfavorable rating, compared to only 25% favorable, at the national level. That said, he would likely not have to waste anytime holding fundraisers or jockeying for TV time, considering Forbes estimates the value of the media empire that bears his name at close to $14 Billion and Bloomberg himself has a net worth of over $5 Billion, putting him in the 44th position on the 2006 Forbes 400 list. I think it is unlikely that Bloomberg would leverage his vast fortune to finance a campaign that had him anywhere other than the top of the ticket, and he may have found himself a formidable running mate in the conservative Senator from the heartland.

Bloomberg and Hagel were recently seen dining in Washington, which has had all of the talking heads in an speculative uproar, but I suspect they will not tip their hand until they have finalized their strategy, but I cannot imagine a situation which could arise that would prevent them from eventually jumping into the mix. They would have broad appeal to both conservatives and liberals, and together would likely be the most qualified ticket regardless of who wins the nominations of the two major parties. I suggest visiting Bloomberg's website and deciding for yourself what you think to be Mayor Bloomberg's intentions.

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