Never Mind the Denials

The buzz about Mr. Bloomberg’s Presidential bid started the day after he won his second term in office. That night, his campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, appeared on NY1 News and, unsolicited, broached the possibility. Reporter Ben Smith followed that with a front-page story in this newspaper, which asked in February 2006 if Mr. Bloomberg would run as an independent candidate—a “sane Ross Perot.” By that point, it was out there—where it remains, tantalizingly, to this day.

Of course, as good as the story is, reporters who have been around long enough to remember other Mayoral meta-narratives see the whole thing as a natural progression for Mr. Bloomberg—and for the press.

“There comes a point in every Mayor’s political life where they start to get bored with the city and start to kind of look around at what’s next,” said New York Times reporter Michael Powell.

“There’s no advantage to him in definitively coming out and stomping his feet and saying, ‘Absolutely will not, never, ever, ever!’,” Mr. Powell said. “Why do that?”

Another reporter who covered Mr. Bloomberg and his predecessor described the phenomenon this way: “If you’re in your second term and you’re not running for something, you just sink. You need to have something compelling you forward, or people will actually start paying attention to the way you’re governing, which is a bad problem for a Mayor in his second term.”

And yet, because of Mr. Bloomberg’s high poll numbers, bottomless personal war chest and—perhaps most importantly—his term-limited tenure, the story is just a little too credible to let go of, no matter how often the Mayor denies it.

“If he didn’t have the money, you’d have to say, ‘It’s really too late for him—let’s move on,’” Mr. Polner said. “But he does have the money to start it up.”

Or, as Mr. Seifman put it: “At the end of the day, it’s hard to see an independent candidacy by a guy from New York City. But it’s going to be a pretty wild year.”