Hat Tip: By Rachel Capochunas, CQ Politics
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a definitive-sounding denial that he will run for president in 2008 during an interview with television newsman Dan Rather taped for airing on the HDNet cable network Tuesday night.
And Bloomberg, according to a partial transcript provided to CQPolitics by HDNet, is outdoing even the famed non-candidacy announcement of 19th century Republican William Tecumseh Sherman.
When the Civil War general made his “Shermanesque” statement rejecting entreaties that he run for the 1884 GOP nomination, he acknowledged the possibility that he might win, stating that he would not serve if elected. Bloomberg, on the other hand, tells Rather that “nobody’s going to elect me president of the United States.”
This is not a matter, according to the transcript, of self-doubt on Bloomberg’s part. Instead, the longtime Democrat who won for mayor in 2001 and 2005 as a Republican moderate and then switched again this June to independent contends that his willingness to take politically contrary views would limit his appeal as a national candidate.
Bloomberg stressed that his beliefs are not “tailored to what is politically popular.” continuing, “I believe that certain things and if somebody asks me where I stand, I tell them. And that’s not a way to get elected generally.”
The comments came after Rather raised the speculation that Bloomberg, a billionaire media magnate, might stage an independent presidential bid — a topic that has drawn intensified interest since Bloomberg, who holds strongly liberal views on most social issues, quit the Republican Party earlier this year.
When asked by the former longtime CBS Evening News anchorman if he would run, Bloomberg first simply stated “no.” When Rather pressed further, asking if there were any circumstances under which Bloomberg would run for president, Bloomberg first responded that he didn’t know, then added, “If I don’t say ‘no’ categorically, you’ll then read something into it. The answer is no.”