This morning, just hours before the Iowa caucus, Michael Bloomberg appeared on the Today Show to talk about turning Christmas trees into environmentally-friendly mulch, but the conversation predictably turned to presidential politics.
“I’m not going to be a candidate,” the mayor told Meredith Viera. “But I will say-“
Viera responded, “Excuse me, did you say? You are not, under any circumstances-“
“I said I am not a candidate,” Bloomberg repeated. “I am going to be mayor.”
Viera gave it one more shot before the interview ended. Referring to Bloomberg’s daughter, Georgina–who the mayor noted is a fan of Viera’s–she asked, “you swear on her that you’re not running?”
“I said to Georgina I’m not running,” he replied. “George? I don’t know that Georgina wants me to run. I never asked her. George, want me to run?”
UPDATE: The video is here.
The full transcript:
Bloomberg: I’m not going to be a candidate. But I will say-
NBC: Excuse me, what did you say? You are not, under any circumstances?
Bloomberg: I said I am not a candidate. I am going to be mayor. But I will say, it is hard to explain the Iowa caucuses to people from overseas who’ve asked me to do it. But it’s part of America. It’s part of democracy, and it’s a wonderful thing, and all the people from Iowa should go out and express themselves. And they have a real chance to make a difference in this country.
NBC: But you have been critical, mayor, of some of the candidates. You say there’s not enough bipartisanship, in politics today. So, would you support an independent running if you don’t see the kind of bi-partisanship that you’d like to see?
Bloomberg: What I want to do is support an independent approach, where we stop this partisan bickering and special interest and get the best from both parties. There’s nothing wrong with parties. Everybody is out there for their own advantage, or the advantage of their own party rather than what’s right for this country. And we’re in trouble domestically, and internationally and we’ve not addressed the key issues like health care, and international relations, and immigration and all of those things. And people’ve got to start standing up and saying if they’re elected, what they’ll really do, not just that they’re in favor of motherhood and apple pie but what they’ll do.
NBC: Okay, so, you’ve mentioned your daughter Georgina, who’s a big fan of mine, you swear on her that you’re not running?
Bloomberg: I said to Georgina I’m not running. George? I don’t know that Georgina wants me to run. I never asked her. George, want me to run?