By Tom Curry National affairs writer
msnbc.com
updated 12/12/2010 10:39:37 AM ET 2010-12-12T15:39:37

Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg flatly denied that he will launch an independent presidential bid in 2012.

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“I’m not going to run for president,” he said, adding a few seconds later for emphasis: “No way, no how.”

“I’m not looking at the possibility of running,” he told NBC’s David Gregory.

Bloomberg said people “should be encouraged” by the compromise agreement to extend tax cuts and unemployment benefits that President Obama and Republican congressional leaders reached last week.

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“At least both sides of the aisle and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue have come together to do something in a bipartisan way,’ he said. “And I’m sure the president would have liked other things, but the real world of governing is to do what is possible and everybody getting something, nobody getting 100 percent of what they want.”

Obama 'has to succeed'
And throughout the interview Sunday, Bloomberg expressed sympathy for Obama.

“This president has to succeed. We all have an enormous amount of capital invested in his success,” the mayor said.  “His success is the country’s success.”

He said voters unhappy with Obama will have a chance to vote for someone else in two years “but right now we should all pull together… and make sure that this president is successful.”

He also said, “We don’t give him enough credit” especially for promoting American exports when he visits foreign countries.

While endorsing Obama’s tax deal with Republicans, Bloomberg also said that United States will face a point at which sacrifice and budget cutting will be inevitable. “The Chinese are going to stop buying our debt; we’re going to get to the point where business has so little confidence they not willing to expand; there’s a lot of problems facing us down the road: some of these trust funds like Social Security running out of money; Medicaid and Medicare just taking over the whole economy.”

Video: Bloomberg on 2012: ‘No way, no how’ (on this page)

The New York mayor also made a strong pitch for allowing foreign students who receive graduate degrees at U.S. universities to be granted permanent resident status so that they can eventually become American citizens. He said this was the single most significant step the federal government could take that would spur innovation and job creation.

Mayor worth an estimated $18 billion
Elected mayor of New York City three times, Bloomberg, 68, made his fortune by building a financial information and news media empire and has a net worth of $18 billion, according to an estimate by Forbes magazine. 

He has tried to taking a leading role in the national debates on the economy, crime, reducing health care costs, and other topics.

Video: Obama, reinforcements make hard sell on taxes (on this page)

His speeches — especially one he gave last week in New York on the economy —  have signaled his restlessness with the two-party leadership of the nation and have given a hint that he thinks he could do better than those now in charge in Washington.

For a man of such forceful opinions and an appetite for public service, a run for president wouldn’t be surprising. Unlike the last self-financed independent to run for president, Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996, Bloomberg does have experience as an elected official responsible for governing a city of eight million people

If he ran, he could pose a threat to the two major party candidates by attracting some of their voters and possibly wining a few states.

Effect of a third-party presidential bid
A presidential candidate needs to win 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. If Bloomberg ran and ended up winning a few states — such as New York (which is likely to have 30 electoral votes after the reapportionment of representatives) and Connecticut (seven electoral votes) — he could keep one of the other candidates from winning that 270. 

The last time a third-party candidate won any states was in 1968 when George Wallace won five states and 46 electoral votes.

If no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes, the House of Representatives elects the president from the three candidates who received the most electoral votes.

In November 2007 Bloomberg invited Obama to a highly publicized breakfast in New York City, an event that observers saw as helpful to Obama in his battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Although he did not endorse Obama or his Republican opponent Sen. John McCain in 2008 election, he was helpful to Obama by going to Florida and denouncing rumors of him secretly being a Muslim, saying they were ''wedge politics at its worst, and we have to reject it — loudly, clearly and unequivocally.''

And Obama has on occasion paid compliments to Bloomberg, praising him in early 2008 for "extraordinary leadership" and adding that the mayor "shows us what can be achieved when we bring people together to seek pragmatic solutions."

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Video: Bloomberg on 2012: ‘No way, no how’

  1. Transcript of: Bloomberg on 2012: ‘No way, no how’

    MR. GREGORY: Let me spend a couple minutes talking about politics. There was the cover of...

    MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I'm shocked. I didn't think it would come up.

    MR. GREGORY: Shocked we would get to that.

    MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Yeah.

    MR. GREGORY: Let me show you the cover of the New York Post this week about your speech. State of the Union . "Presidential" in quotes, "Mike reads riot act to DC ."

    MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Good picture.

    MR. GREGORY: Do you think an independent can be president?

    MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I don't know. I'm not going to run for president, for the, the job. I've got a great job. I'm going to finish out my 1,100 and whatever number of days it is left to go, and I'll leave the politics to the experts.

    MR. GREGORY: Do you think that it's possible to scrap the two party system ? Would you be in favor of that?

    MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Well, the original Founding Fathers didn't seem to have an interest in party politics , and I've worked very hard in New York for nonpartisan elections. I'm going to give a speech at an organization next week on nonpartisan redistricting. Now, parties have a place; but party loyalty, I don't think, should get in the way of doing what you as an elected official believe what's right. And I think that's what most of the public wants.

    MR. GREGORY: You say you don't want to run for president. Yet, based on all my reporting, you're taking a serious look at this, doing some calculations about whether this could be something that you could actually win. Are you saying that you're not even looking at the possibility of running?

    MAYOR BLOOMBERG: No, I'm not looking at the possibility of running. I've got a great job, and I'm going to stay with it.

    MR. GREGORY: OK. So...

    MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I am going to speak out on those things that affect New York City . That's my job. People that say, "Oh, you shouldn't be talking on a national level," well, we crated 55,000 private sector jobs in New York in the last 12 months. That's much greater than the percentage we should create with our population. But we can't do everything without help from the federal government and our state government. And so I'm out there talking about immigration, talking about regulation, talking about the president being out there selling our products, all of these kinds of things, because that'll help us out.

    MR. GREGORY: But if, if advisers came to you and said, "You know, Mr. Mayor, we've taken a hard look at this. We think this would not just be a vanity plate, you could actually win this thing," would you change your mind?

    MAYOR BLOOMBERG: No.

    MR. GREGORY: No way, no how?

    MAYOR BLOOMBERG: No way, no how. Because...

    MR. GREGORY: So your supporters who, who create all this buzz should cease and desist?

    MAYOR BLOOMBERG: They -- I don't think most of them do create this buzz. I mean, yes, they should cease and desist, but most of this is just because the press wants to have something to write about. But the bottom line is, I've got a great job, I want to go out being, having a reputation as a very good, maybe the greatest mayor ever. And I 'm lucky to have three predecessors, Giuliani and Dinkins and Koch , all of whom have been very helpful in trying to make me a better mayor.

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