updated 10/8/2008 8:32:14 PM ET 2008-10-09T00:32:14

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday secured a fellow billionaire's once-wavering support to change the city's term-limits law, even as other obstacles formed to the politician's attempt to extend his tenure.

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Bloomberg met for more than an hour with cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder, who largely financed the referendum that created the city's term-limits law in 1993. Officeholders are restricted to two four-year terms; Bloomberg wants to extend that to three so he can run again in 2009.

Lauder's initial support of Bloomberg's proposal wavered because Bloomberg said the change would have to be permanent, to stand up to legal challenges. Lauder wanted it to be temporary.

Bloomberg then proposed naming Lauder to a commission to reconsider the term-limits law and put it to voters in 2010, timed to avoid voter confusion during next year's mayoral race.

"My personal belief in ordinary times is that two terms is the appropriate number," Lauder said in a statement after the meeting. "However, these are extraordinary times and we are in the midst of a financial emergency."

He said he will "reluctantly support" Bloomberg's effort, but on the commission will "vigorously support a return to a two-term limit."

Bloomberg's proposal was introduced at the City Council on Tuesday, as was a competing bill that would require the term-limits law be changed only by voter referendum. The 51-member council won't vote until later this month, at the earliest.

Other opposition is mobilizing against Bloomberg, but organizers admit he may be tough to stop, particularly now that there is no clear source of financing for an opposition campaign.

One group of opponents, the Working Families Party, set up a Web site and sent an e-mail Wednesday to rally New Yorkers to its side. "You don't get to change the rules at the end of the fourth quarter just because your team wants to keep playing," it said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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