Bloomberg Shakes Hands, Earns Praise at the Big Independence Party Meeting

Michael Bloomberg told a room full of Independence Party activists that he wants to see nonpartisan elections "as much as

Michael Bloomberg told a room full of Independence Party activists that he wants to see nonpartisan elections "as much as you do" but added, " We have to see a road map before we start marching again."

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Bloomberg spoke to New York City Independence Party leaders for about 30 minutes in midtown this afternoon, before expelling reporters to field questions from party members privately.

The Independence Party is meeting today formally endorse him for re-election, as it did in 2005.

Fred Newman, a party member who also has controversial views, didn't come. Newman's influence is unmatched among local party members, and Bloomberg has recently met privately with him

State party chairman Frank Mackay didn't show up, either; Bloomberg backed MacKay when McKay led an effort to oust Newman and his allies from the party.

At the event, Bloomberg was introduced by Jackie Salit—a founding member of the city Independence Party—who said when Bloomberg became an unaffiliated voter on June 19, 2007, he was " being true to himself and to the road he had been traveling for a very, very, very long time, in my opinion."

One of the more famous party members, Lenora Fulaniwho has been accused of writing anti-Semitic remarks that Bloomberg has condemned—sat in the front row and shook the mayor's hand when he arrived. 

Bloomberg's campaign spokeswoman said he plans to leave without taking questions from reporters; they are staking out the meeting anyway.

Bloomberg Shakes Hands, Earns Praise at the Big Independence Party Meeting