Bloomberg Praises McCain, Obama
At a key moment in the race, news reports indicated New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg would praise Sen. John McCain in a speech this morning to the Independence Party of Minnesota. ABC News reported Thursday that Bloomberg planned to give a shout out to McCain’s record of bucking his own party while stopping short of making an endorsement.
"I feel confident that there will be some positive statements about Sen. McCain," said party chair Craig Swaggert based on indications he began receiving from Bloomberg aides in "the last week or so."
A Bloomberg spokesperson did not quibble with Swaggert’s expectation that the New York mayor will single out McCain for praise when he speaks to the party’s $100 per head fundraiser. "We look forward to the speech in Minneapolis," said Lindsay Ellenbogen, a Bloomberg spokesperson. "I expect him to talk about effective independent leadership and leaders who exemplify it"…
The presumptive Republican nominee, who has long enjoyed a positive relationship with Bloomberg, recently ingratiated himself by meeting behind closed doors with Joel Klein, the chancellor of the New York City school system.
However, perhaps as a result of the media attention, Bloomberg opted to keep his cards close to his chest. He showered compliments on both McCain and Sen. Barack Obama. From Fox News:
During a speech in Minneapolis on Friday, Bloomberg praised both Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain. He says both are capable of acting independently and standing up to partisan special interests.
Bloomberg says he likes Obama’s positions on gun show background checks and the federal gas tax. He says he appreciates McCain’s stances on immigration, campaign finance reform and global warming.
If Bloomberg had singled out McCain, the timing would have been impeccable. A Quinnipiac poll released yesterday found McCain had narrowed Obama’s 17-point lead in Minnesota to just two points — and CNN yesterday changed the state’s status from "Leans Obama" to "Toss-up." Bloomberg has yet to formally endorse a candidate. Last month, the mayor came to the defense of Sen. Barack Obama in a speech before a Jewish group in Florida, where he denounced rumors circulating on the Internet that the presumptive Democratic nominee is really a Muslim.
Bloomberg — a former Democrat, former Republican and current independent — has been mentioned as a potential running mate for both candidates. He has presented himself as a voice for post-partisanship. Whether his comments can make much of an impact in Minnesota is questionable — it is still unclear just how well-known Bloomberg is among the general public outside of New York. Still, independents in battleground states will almost certainly decide the election in November — so nice words from Bloomberg can’t hurt. Even if they are vague.