Will Mike Bloomberg run for president?
Matt Bai is a political reporter and staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, Bai graduated from Tufts in 1990 and received a Masters from the Columbia School of Journalism in 1994. Bai began his reporting career at the Boston Globe's metro desk; he spent five years as a national correspondent for Newsweek before coming to the Times in 2002. Bai has covered all sorts of national news: everything from the Columbine shootings to John Glenn's last space voyage to Mike Bloomberg's mayoral campaign. In recent years, Bai has focused primarily on intra-Democratic Party politics. He is the author of The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics, an analysis of the progressive movement. Bai's work has also appeared in both the 2005 and 2006 editions of The Best American Political Writing. Matt covered the 2008 presidential race for the New York Times Magazine.
Well I’m uninformed about whether he’ll jump in because I haven’t spent any time talking to those folks. My gut is no, because if he . . . It would be . . . I don’t see signs . . . I don’t see serious signs that he wants to do that, which he would need to be showing. And my gut tells me he is not the right person, although I could be totally wrong about that. I mean he’s . . . He’s in New York which is not exactly, you know, central to the identity of most Americans. He’s . . . You know he’s sort of abrasive in that New York way. He’s a billionaire. I think there’s a . . . I think there has to be something transcendent about a candidate like that. Not just in the ideology you espouse. I think people would respond to a lot of arguments. But there has to be something transcendent about . . . about that person that makes people identify with them and believe . . . believe that they are the kind of leader that can do the impossible.
You know the closest I can think of in recent history would not be Bloomberg, but would be . . . or Ross Perot, who was a little nutty, but . . . but it would be Colin Powell who opted not to run in 1996, and would have run in any event, I gather, as a Republican. But had he chose, and had it been his desire to run as an Independent, I think he might have – even then in the pre-Internet days – he had the kind of stature that would have made that a very, very interesting, you know, run. And John McCain had that kind of appeal for Independents after 2000. The moment was never there for him to run for president. But he told me once he thought if he had done it early on before he lost primaries; if he and Bob Carey, say, had gone out and run on a bipartisan ticket, he thought he might have had a shot. I think the bipartisan ticket is probably the . . . the next iteration of American politics. And if we keep going the way we’re going in terms of addressing problems, then we would see that in the next eight to 12 years would not . . . would not remotely surprise me. I half expect to see it every campaign now.
Recorded on: 12/13/07
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