Billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg added a little intensity to the will-he-run-for-the-presidency talk Tuesday night by announcing that he's leaving the Republican Party.
Bloomberg, who endorsed George W. Bush's reelection while hosting the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004, now says that he wants to move beyond the world of partisan politics. "Any successful elected executive knows that real results are more important than partisan battles, and that good ideas should take precedence over rigid adherence to any particular political ideology," he said in a statement last night.
Bloomberg said that his "plans for the future haven't changed," but what that means depends entirely on what his "plans for the future" have been. As Walter Shapiro reported in Salon the other day, Bloomberg has waved off talk of a presidential run, but his "top political advisors make scant secret that they are currently plotting ways for him to enter the 2008 White House field as a problem-solving independent, socially liberal and fiscally responsible."
It could be an uphill run, at least if voters in Bloomberg's home state have anything to say about it. In a new Quinnipiac University poll released this morning, New York voters were asked to name their favorites in a hypothetical three-way presidential race among three New York-based candidates. The result: Hillary Clinton leads the pack with 43 percent, Rudy Giuliani -- whose South Carolina campaign chairman was indicted yesterday on cocaine charges -- comes in second with 29 percent, and Bloomberg brings up the rear with 16 percent.