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(2008-06-05 06:36:16)


分类: 新知
 Bloomberg Is Said to Explore a Third Mayoral Term or a Bid for Governor
Christian Hansen for The New York Times

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently commissioned a poll of how voters would feel about repealing the city’s term limits law.

Published: June 4, 2008

As the end of his term nears, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his senior advisers have been exploring strategies that would allow him to remain in political life, including undertaking a campaign to overturn the city’s term limits law or making a bid for governor, according to two people who have been briefed on the deliberations.

Mr. Bloomberg, as part of that effort, commissioned a poll recently to determine whether city voters would be open to lifting the term limits law, which forces him and other elected city officials from office after two four-year terms. The poll found that even as voters approved of his performance as mayor, they would strongly oppose any attempt to undo the limits. Voters were receptive to the idea of a Bloomberg candidacy for governor, however.

Either move by the mayor would dramatically shake up the political world in New York and beyond, given his national profile and previous pledge to try to shape the presidential campaign this fall, perhaps by establishing an independent political organization.

In addition, Mr. Bloomberg, 66, has a record of overcoming long political odds with his single-minded focus and willingness to spend tens of millions of dollars on campaigns, so his ruminations about his future or a race for governor would be viewed with seriousness — and some alarm — by other potential candidates.

The deliberations are occurring as the mayor expresses frustration that his agenda is unfinished and that some of his more ambitious proposals, like congestion pricing, have been blocked by lawmakers in Albany. And despite his previous public statements that he is looking forward to focusing on philanthropy full time after leaving office, people who have spoken to Mr. Bloomberg say he has clearly been bitten by the political bug and is not eager to give up the power that comes with elected office.

The mayor’s current term is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2009.

The people who have been briefed on the deliberations say that the poll results will not dictate the mayor’s ultimate course.

“The mayor was interested in seeing the lay of the land,” said one of the people, a former political adviser to the mayor who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to be seen as betraying the confidence of the mayor’s inner circle.

Stu Loeser, a Bloomberg spokesman, would not confirm or deny that a poll had been conducted.

But he said that the mayor, who has previously said he will respect the will of voters, was standing by that position. The voters approved term limits in 1993.

“The mayor’s views haven’t changed,” he said.

If the mayor and his advisers decide to try to overturn the term limits law, they will have until September to gather signatures to put the question before voters in this November’s election.

Some of Mr. Bloomberg’s advisers are strongly warning against such a campaign, saying that taking on such an unpopular issue — even if the fight is ultimately successful — would cause lasting damage to Mr. Bloomberg’s reputation and what they see as his brand: the reform-minded political outsider.

Mr. Bloomberg’s deliberations echo those of his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who sought to extend his term as mayor after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Although Mr. Giuliani was at the height of his popularity at the time, and almost universally applauded for his leadership in the crisis, his efforts to stay on for a few months drew swift condemnation and a less than enthusiastic response from the public.

The former political adviser to Mayor Bloomberg sought to play down the significance of the polling, saying the questions regarding the term limits law and a race for governor were included in a larger survey the mayor conducted to measure his overall job approval and other city issues.

“He had his advisers throw in the question about term limits and a run for governor,” the former adviser said. “It was part of a regular process the mayor goes through to update himself on public opinion.”

And while the poll showed voters were open to the idea of a Bloomberg run for governor, it is not clear how eager the mayor is to pursue that path. In the past he has strongly denied any interest in doing so. Thus far, he has had a friendly relationship with David A. Paterson, the Harlem Democrat who took over in March to replace Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned after he was implicated as a client of a prostitution ring.

“I think the mayor likes David Paterson and I don’t think he is going to launch a campaign any time soon,” said the former political adviser.

The mayor is said to find other jobs potentially attractive, including Treasury secretary and president of the World Bank.

“One wouldn’t poll for those jobs,” a person close to the mayor said.

Mr. Bloomberg, the billionaire founder of Bloomberg L.P., a media and financial services giant, is not the only one within his tight-knit circle itching for something to do next. Kevin Sheekey, a top political assistant who spent months trying to build support for an independent presidential campaign by Mr. Bloomberg, is said to be equally distressed at the prospect of his boss’s leaving public life. As much as anyone in the Bloomberg operation, Mr. Sheekey is considering the mayor’s future options.

The syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak, in a column last weekend, suggested that Mr. Sheekey was under consideration by Senator John McCain’s campaign to run the Republican national convention this summer in Minneapolis-St. Paul. But Republican operatives played down that possibility on Tuesday, saying Mr. Sheekey’s chances for the job could be hurt because Mr. Bloomberg is an independent and no longer a Republican.

The deliberations come after an extraordinary, but in some ways deflating, year for Mr. Bloomberg.

A year ago this month, he grabbed the attention of the national political establishment by announcing he was leaving the Republican Party and criticizing “rigid adherence to any particular political ideology.” He flirted with a presidential run for the next nine months, traveling the country and appearing on the covers of Time and Newsweek while pushing a message of nonpartisan problem-solving.

But the excitement among Democratic voters about Senator Barack Obama and the emergence of Mr. McCain as the Republican nominee — both of whom promote nonpartisan approaches — undercut the Bloomberg rationale for running. In February, despite months of elaborate behind-the-scenes effort to build the infrastructure of a campaign in all 50 states, the mayor said he would not run.

Fernanda Santos contributed reporting.
























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