NYC Mayor Bloomberg's Obama comments raise speculation of presidential bid

Thursday, November 24, 2011

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg chastised U.S. President Barack Obama's leadership on Monday following the collapse of the Congressional super-committee designed to reduce the federal budget deficit. Though he also criticized Congress, Bloomberg focused his attacks on Obama, arguing "It's the chief executive's job to bring people together and to provide leadership. I don't see that happening." According to The Telegraph, the comments renew speculation that Bloomberg will mount an Independent run for president in 2012 against Obama, who is currently seeking re-election as a Democrat.

Though he rarely involves himself in national politics, Bloomberg felt it necessary to discuss the failure of the twelve person super-committee, which Congress commissioned last summer at the president's urging as part of the debt-ceiling compromise. The committee, which was supposed to find ways to reduce the budget deficit by $1.2 trillion in ten years, announced that no such agreement could be made.

Bloomberg accused Congress of "political cowardice" on the issue, but emphasized that "The executive branch must do more than submit a plan to a committee - and then step aside and hope the committee members take action. That's not how any CEO would run a business."

White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer defended Obama, arguing that he completed his job by "put[ting] forward a detailed, balanced, $3 trillion deficit reduction plan [that] overwhelming majorities of Americans support." Pfeiffer blamed Republican lawmakers for the failure by "adhering to rigid ideological dogmas".

Bloomberg has stated on numerous occasions that a "short, divorced, Jewish billionaire" such as himself, would not be a formidable presidential candidate. However, according to an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, he would draw 13 percent support in a three way match-up with Obama and a Republican candidate.

According to Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein, Bloomberg, who is in his final term as Mayor, "hasn’t quite figured out what his next act is, but the one thing he knows he wants is to stay relevant and continue cultivating his brand as the independent, sane, grown-up voice in American politics."

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch believes an Independent like Bloomberg has a "major chance" of being elected in 2012, and hopes he pursues this as his next act.