Egged on by reporters, he then touched on foreign policy toward Iran, hinted at a humanitarian interventionist streak to prevent genocide, aired his opposition to restrictive immigration laws and bemoaned America’s slipping in business and education.
“I feel very strongly I should be out there talking about those issues that influence New York City and that are dealt with at a national level.”
Some reporters complained to one another that, with Bloomberg inching toward the race, their publications were unequipped to cover three hometown Presidential candidates, and that weekends would now become but an undifferentiated extension of the working week.
That night, a previously taped interview with The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer featured Mr. Bloomberg declaring, “The only reason to run for President is to win.” At about the same time it aired, the Mayor walked up the stairs of the Sheraton in midtown Manhattan surrounded by his security detail and Mr. Sheekey. At the top of the stairs, in front of the second-floor ballroom, he stopped for a quick chat with Stuart Appelbaum, a Jewish labor activist hosting the event. Mr. Appelbaum was effusive about the Mayor’s new independent affiliation and the prospects that it opened.
“I’m in awe,” said Mr. Appelbaum.
“We’ll see what happens,” said Bloomberg, nodding his tilted head, shrugging his shoulders. Again he seemed to want to smile.
One floor above, Mr. Giuliani held a fund-raiser for supporters, but reporters opted to listen to Mr. Bloomberg’s speech about labor rather than stake out the Republican Presidential candidate.
The next day, the Mayor’s public schedule listed him as giving remarks at the graduation ceremony at Rockefeller University on the Far East Side at 2 p.m. Almost an hour later, there was still no sign of the Mayor. There had been a miscommunication, his aides said, and he would be speaking after 4. The reporters covering the event—which promised to be entirely devoid of news—waited in the heat and perspired. Mr. Bloomberg eventually appeared, dressed in cap and gown, proceeding into the auditorium with professors and graduates.
While the university professors spoke about science, the Mayor’s press officers took a breather. One aide sat with his legs crossed on the empty stage in the middle of a lawn where the brass band had welcomed the arriving graduates. He read from that day’s press digest, a binder of stories about his boss, including a Daily News article about a conflict between Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Giuliani.
When the Mayor’s time to speak finally came, he again touched on a national theme.
“Now, I wish some of our nation’s lawmakers could be here today—because this graduating class makes an eloquent argument for why America so urgently needs to revise its immigration policies,” said Mr. Bloomberg. “Our current, wildly unrealistic and unworkable visa restrictions severely handicap international students studying here.”
Mr. Bloomberg has clearly warmed to the Presidential speculation, although, perhaps not surprisingly, he has had some more strongly negative reactions to suggestions that he might be interested in making a bid for any other higher office.
At a press conference about energy conservation on June 25, the Mayor thought he heard a reporter addressing him as Governor—another office for which the Bloomberg name has been floated.
The Mayor quickly pointed out that he was, in fact, the Mayor. And he hastened to add the following: “I have no interest, for the record.”
For once, no one doubted him.
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