2007-06-27 / Political Page

Polls Show Mayor Would Be Interesting Candidate

The first nationwide poll taken on the 2008 presidential race after Mayor Michael Bloomberg quit the Republican Party shows the mayor running third to United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, but by no means to be disregarded.

In another poll taken after the mayor's switch to unaffiliated party status, he's in a virtual tie with incumbent Governor Eliot Spitzer among New York state voters.

These results indicate clearly that the mayor, if he decided to run as an independent for president, could make a race out of it.

Consider first that Clinton and Giuliani have been campaigning for several months, raising huge amounts of money and spending freely to stay ahead of the competition in their respective parties.

Then factor in Bloomberg as an announced candidate, also spending freely to get the necessary exposure and getting media coverage equal to that accorded the other candidates in the race.

Consider also that if Bloomberg is to become a bona fide candidate, he will have to gather signatures in all 50 states to get on the ballot in each state. This would add to the exposure he will need to run as a candidate nationally.

The big question, following the mayor's action last week at the Board of Elections, remains: will he run for president? We think so.
When all of these factors are considered, and considering too that there is ample time to get into the heavy competition before the election is held 17 months from now, we have to think that the mayor would have a credible chance of pulling a major upset.

Bloomberg's support in the poll against Spitzer, conducted by the Siena College Research Institute and released last Monday, is even more intriguing.

Spitzer, who has just completed a hellish six months of his first term, tops the mayor by only two percentage points, 43 to 41.

But the mayor swamps the incumbent governor in the New York City balloting, 49 to 37 percent, and also in the suburbs, 53 to 37 percent. Spitzer's excellent showing upstate, where he blitzed the mayor, 55 to 24 percent, salvaged the survey for him.

Overall, we find it very revealing that the mayor, in each poll competed not from the standpoint of a candidate, but on his performance as mayor.

The big question, following the mayor's action last week at the Board of Elections, remains: will he run for president?

We think so.

For the past two years, he has had a battery of researchers looking into what an independent faces in running for president.

Upon considering all that they found, the mayor could have concluded it was a difficult task to become a candidate and dropped the idea.

Instead, the mayor's reaction to the search made by his staff was to quit the Republican Party and become an Independent and go forward from there. Obviously, he wasn't ready to walk away from the possibility of running for president. He wants to continue flirting with national issues. The chances seem good that eventually he'll throw his hat into the ring.

CROWLEY, WEINER BLOCK BUSH: For the past three years, Congressmember Anthony Weiner has authored legislation which would ban U.S. aid to Saudi Arabia, but President George W. Bush has ignored the legislation and sent $2.53 million to the Saudis in 2005 and 2006.

Trying a different tack this year, Weiner (D- Queens/Brooklyn), joined by Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D- Queens/The Bronx) have passed a bill which closes the loophole that allowed the president to bypass the Congress.

The loophole used by the president, Weiner explained, was a waiver provision in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. The Weiner- Crowley amendment would close that loophole for good by adding a clause to trump the Foreign Assistance Act provision.

"When it comes to providing aid to countries like Saudi Arabia, who actively work against U.S. interests, we have only one choice, to cut the funds off entirely," Weiner said. This action sends a message to the Saudi government that they must be a true ally in advancing peace in the Middle East, he added.

Crowley stated, "The U.S. Congress must continue to make clear to Saudi Arabia that they cannot claim to be our ally while its people provide support to terrorists who are a threat to regional stability in the Middle East and around the globe."

Closer to home, Crowley and state Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith (D- Jamaica) were honored for their work on behalf of people with autism at the Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) annual ball recently.

KATZ ENDORSED: Although the 2009 elections are still far off, City Councilmember Melinda Katz (D- Forest Hills) has been endorsed for city comptroller by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

Katz who chairs the council Land Use Committee, won the union's praise for being an outspoken leader in the fight to keep Wal-Mart out of New York City. Wal-Mart is considered anti-labor.

Katz' term in the council will be ended by term limits at the end of 2009. She has announced she will seek the city comptroller job, which will become available as incumbent Comptroller William Thompson will also be term limited.

Another term limited councilmember, David Weprin (D- Hollis) is also expected to seek the comptroller position, setting up a possible primary fight with Katz and perhaps others.

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