The Many Denials
Of Mayor Bloomberg
What is Michael Bloomberg thinking?
It is tempting to take the New York Mayor, literally, at his word, especially when his statements seem so direct and to the point: "Nobody's going to elect me president of the United States," he told Dan Rather in an interview broadcast on Tuesday.
But wait. Less than a month earlier, his people quietly snatched up the website address www.mike2008.com. If you type that into a web browser, it automatically redirects you to www.mikebloomberg.com, his personal -- and very campaign-like -- Web site.
His earlier statements and actions have been equally contradictory. In the space of just a few days in June, he declared at the Google headquarters that "I'm not a candidate for president," only to bolt days later from the Republican Party to become an independent, stoking exactly the kind of speculation his Google comments were meant to tamp down.
So what's he up to? Most observers believe he's doing two things: First, he's avoiding the pitfalls of participating actively in a drawn-out White House campaign by fervently denying interest while leaving himself just enough wiggle room to change his mind later.
And second, he's sprinkling presidential pixie dust over all of his other actions and comments. As mayor of New York, he's pursuing an agenda involving guns, the environment and health care, and people are paying more attention to what he says because they think he might -- just might -- run for president in 2008.
In April of 2006, he told friends that he could "easily put up a half-billion" to run for president. Last month, he joked that the only way he could run for president was if "everyone else in the world was dead."
So which is it?
Both, it seems.
Below is a look at the statements -- and actions -- of non-candidate Bloomberg and his supporters.
-- Michael D. Shear
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