Chalk me down as somebody who thinks a Bloomberg independent bid could actually hurt the Democratic nominee than the Republican one. The term “RINO” gets thrown around perhaps a bit too casually, but Mike Bloomberg probably would be a Democrat today if there had been either a more serious Republican mayoral contender in 2001, and/or a weaker field of Democrats that year. He’s got zero appeal to conservatives, so in a three way race, I think he plays Nader, not Perot.
Anyway, it seems Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to talk about the possibility:
One of the few people in Albany seemingly not taking an interest in Mr. Bloomberg was Mrs. Clinton. After leaving the third-floor Capitol office of Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith, she was asked for her thoughts on a possible Presidential challenge by Mr. Bloomberg. Mrs. Clinton took an extra long chug from her bottle of water and ignored the question.
When asked again by the building’s rear doorway, her aides answered for her: “I think we’re done for today.”
It seems likely that Bloomberg will at least partially base his decision on whether he thinks the Democratic and Republican nominees are beatable – are they candidates who only excite the base, and leave a lot of moderates and independents yearning for another choice?
In other words, I’d bet he would run against Hillary but not necessarily Obama.