Mike Bloomberg for president?
Several top Wall Street executives think he would make a good choice, and in several private conversations with banking executives, Bloomberg himself isnâ€™t ruling out the possibility, FOX Business Network has learned.
The possibility of the three-term New York City mayor running in the 2012 presidential election is still largely a Wall Street fixation. Several banking executives have privately prodded Bloomberg to make the run, possibly as an independent, while publicly Bloomberg has said he isnâ€™t in the race, explaining that winning as an independent is still a next-to-impossible feat to pull off.
But in private conversations in recent weeks, the mayorâ€™s tone when discussing a presidential run is nuanced enough that some on Wall Street now say that he is at the very least still open to the notion, particularly on a third-party independent ticket. According to one banking executive, Bloomberg has said that if he were drafted to run for president by serious people, he would consider doing so. Another banking executive said Bloomberg often lays out the low odds of winning the presidency on the independent line, but pointedly never rules out the possibility.
Bloombergâ€™s friends on Wall Street and in the banking business are among the industryâ€™s most serious players. They include Jamie Dimon, the CEO of banking giant JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), and Larry Fink, the CEO of money management powerhouse BlackRock )NYSE:BLK), possibly the most successful managers in finance.
Bloomberg is, of course, well known on Wall Street, not just because heâ€™s mayor of the city where most of the big banks are headquartered but also because he himself is a former Wall Street executive who created an information, data and news company that sells its products to big banks and money managers.
But itâ€™s Bloombergâ€™s politics that Wall Street is also fond of, and the reason why so many of these top executives are asking him to run for president. During a time when its fashionable to beat up on bankers to win votes, Bloomberg has stayed away from name calling. He opposed the presidentâ€™s financial reform bill because he said it would hurt Wall Street profits, and depress tax revenues in New York City, where most of the banks have their major operations.
Meanwhile, though he ran for mayor as a Republican and someone who would be fiscally conservative, heâ€™s famously liberal on social issues, a profile that fits the politics of the top executives at most of the big banks. Both Dimon and Fink as well as Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), for example, supported President Obama in a major way during the 2008 campaign, but people close to them say they are both disillusioned by the far-leftward tilt Obama has taken the country on one hand, and worried about a Republican Party, where fiscal libertarian, Tea Party-types who generally distrust bankers are a major force.
A City Hall spokesman for Bloomberg said that the mayor â€śhas said no to a presidential run many times,â€ť but a person close to Bloomberg told FOX Business: â€śPrivately heâ€™s telling people that if the opportunity arose and the situation was right, that yes he would consider it.â€ť
But this person added, Bloomberg also attaches plenty of caveats on such statements, such as favorable polling for an independent third-party candidate to win in a three-way race. .
â€śMike told me that there are still too many Republicans and too many Democrats who vote along party lines no matter who the candidate is making it nearly impossible for an independent to win,â€ť said one Wall Street CEO who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Wall Street executives say it is doubtful that Bloomberg, who has also been rumored as a possible replacement to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner who may step down sometime after the midterms, would challenge President Obama in a Democratic primary for the 2012 presidential contest. And given his socially liberal positions on abortion, gun control, not to mention his support for the building of a Mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, he knows winning a Republican primary might be just as difficult as winning the presidency as an independent.
That said, prodded by Wall Street bankers who are sick of class warfare coming from both policies and believe Bloomberg has done a good job managing New York City finances during difficult times, Bloomberg is keeping their hopes alive.
â€śHe wonâ€™t rule it out, which is why Wall Street is still buzzing, and praying that he will run,â€ť said another executive.