Thursday, January 31, 2008

Does Arnold Schwarzenegger's Endorsement of McCain Mean No Bloomberg?

One of the biggest questions remaining in the Presidential campaign, aside from whom the candidates on the Democratic and Republican sides will be of course, is whether billionaire New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg will enter the Presidential race. Conventional wisdom said that had the Presidential race been say between Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton, there would be a fertile middle ground full of independents and moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats who would find Bloomberg's socially liberal, fiscally conservative approach. But with John McCain, a very popular moderate figure (more popular among moderates than members of his own party probably) likely getting the Republican nomination, that middle ground may be occupied (especially if McCain is joined by Barack Obama).

And to the end, I think we got a big foreshadowing of Bloomberg's ultimate decision, whether to run, or not, today when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced he was endorsing John McCain. Schwarzenegger and Bloomberg are very close (they shared a cover of Time earlier this year) and Bloomberg was just in California a few weeks holding a press conference with Arnold. The two share a lot of policy issues, including the fight against Global Warming, and you have to figure that if Bloomberg were to run, and were he to win, he would have to win California, and Arnold Schwarzenegger would be his biggest ace-in-the-hole there. But with Schwarzenegger endorsing McCain, I really think that signals that Bloomberg is going to sit this one out. Maybe I'm reading too much into the Schwarzenegger-Bloomberg relationship, but I don't think so.

And speaking of reading too much into things, Barack Obama has no campaign stops scheduled for Saturday, February 1st. Tomorrow (Friday), of course is the Democratic Debate in California, and Sunday Obama will hit Boise, Idaho, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and St. Louis, Missouri. But the day before? Not one stop scheduled yet. Leaving the date open for an Edwards endorsement perhaps? It would be perfect timing to get prominent, front-page coverage on Sunday newspapers across the country and to get talked about on all the Sunday political talk shows. Now, I know every media report has Edwards not yet deciding whether he's going to endorse, much less who it's going to be, and when, but you don't take a day off from campaigning this close to Super Tuesday. It's probably just a matter of campaign scheduling, but maybe, just maybe, that date is open for a reason.

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