The latest news about Michael Bloomberg’s intentions toward a possible run for president, apparently, struck local lawmakers with the force of a revelation.
At the very least, after a report in The Washington Post that the mayor will attend a meeting of Republicans and Democrats in Oklahoma to discuss the presidential election, they’re now officially talking about Mr. Bloomberg in the sort of carefully couched language reserved for serious national candidates.
“I’m supporting Hillary—but I wouldn’t bad-mouth Bloomberg if he ran against my candidate,” said City Councilman Joe Addabbo, a Democrat from Queens.
“I was one of the first Democrats to endorse him for mayor,” said Peter Vallone Jr., also a Democrat from Queens. “So nothing is outside the realm of possibility.”
At this moment of high suspense, though, it’s worth noting (once again) that the carefully cultivated, never-quite-fully-dismissed idea of a Bloomberg presidential candidacy has been a long-term project. (The mayor most recently denied that he was running during a New Year’s Eve broadcast on national television.)
Neil Giacobbi, a 34-year-old spokesman for the Environmental Defense Fund, said that when he read the Post story, he immediately recalled that he first heard of the possibility right after the 2004 Republican National Convention.
At the time, Mr. Giacobbi had been working with top Bloomberg aide Kevin Sheekey, who had been charged with organizing the convention, and was subsequently to head over to Mr. Bloomberg’s mayoral reelection campaign.
Mr. Giacobbi said he asked Mr. Sheekey what he planned to do after that.
“And what struck me and confused me was his talk about preparing for a presidential,” Mr. Giacobbi recalled.
“And I said, ‘Running who?’” Mr. Giacobbi continued. “And that’s way I really remember it. Kevin didn’t mention a name, and he didn’t really answer my question.”
Mr. Giacobbi continued: “I suppose, in retrospect, Kevin sensed where the public was moving—people fed up with partisanship.” He added, “What struck me was how affirmative he was.”
Mr. Giacobbi said that the Bloomberg pitch, after that, was easy to imagine: “‘I’m a visionary. I’m surrounded by these brilliant, capable managers who know how to get things done.’ And the convention just really demonstrated that and said it as strongly as you can say it. It went extremely well. Ray Kelly, Dan Doctoroff, Kevin Sheekey, here’s my team. Here’s what they can do. And it all started then.”