- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 12, 2010

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Sunday emphatically ruled out a 2012 presidential campaign, just days after his speech criticizing Democrats and Republicans for their failed economic policies fueled speculation that he would launch a third-party candidacy.

“I’m not going to run for president. I’ve got a great job,” Mr. Bloomberg, an independent, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

When pressed by host David Gregory on whether circumstances could change his mind, Mr. Bloomberg got more definitive, saying flatly “no” and then “no way, no how.”

People who want him to run “should cease and desist” their efforts, he said.

Mr. Bloomberg was a Democrat before becoming a Republican and winning the New York City mayoral race in 2001 and 2005. He became an independent in 2007, creating speculation that he would become a third-party candidate in the 2008 presidential race. He said Sunday that he did not know whether an independent candidate could ever win the presidency.

Mr. Bloomberg also said President Obama should tell liberal Democrats to “suck it up” and vote in favor of the tax package pending on Capitol Hill, which includes continuing Bush-era tax rates and extending jobless benefits to millions of unemployed Americans.

He said Mr. Obama should say: “Look, this is what I did. This is the best I can do. Suck it up, and let’s get on together.”

In the closely watched speech Wednesday in Brooklyn, the 68-year-old Mr. Bloomberg said the major parties have failed voters by accepting partisan gridlock over compromise. He also said Washington Democrats cannot “tax and spend their way back to prosperity” while Washington Republicans cannot simply rely on the free market to run its course.

“When it comes to creating jobs, government hasn’t gotten the job done,” he said in the 30-minute speech.

On Sunday, Mr. Bloomberg was less critical, saying the pending Capitol Hill deal shows signs of bipartisanship and that Mr. Obama now appears to be leading and making decisions based on outcomes, not ideology.

“He is going for it,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “He can’t just sit there and depend on ideology. His job is to lead, and leadership is about doing the possible.”

Mr. Bloomberg, owner of the highly successful Bloomberg LP financial news and information company, said he wants to focus on becoming one of New York’s greatest mayors. He was elected to a third term in 2009 after getting the City Council to extend mayoral term limits so he could, in part, handle the Wall Street crisis.

He also said jokingly that as mayor of a city with a great sports tradition he must have a World Series between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets before leaving office.

“Giuliani had a subway series,” he said.

• Joseph Weber can be reached at jweber@washingtontimes.com.old.

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