For New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg 0- the billion dollar wild card in the 2008 presidential election -- public service and public attention are inextricably linked, and have been since boyhood. Now he is thinking hard about taking a turn on the biggest stage of all: a campaign for the White House.
The odds against an independent bid for the White House are long, but if Bloomberg's life tells us anything, it is that he is often more motivated, and more successful, when other people say he cannot do something, writes Editor Jon Meacham in "The Billion Dollar Wild Card" cover story in the November 12 issue (on newsstands Monday, November 5).
A rich man with a record of service and seemingly limitless ambition, Bloomberg represents a formidable threat to the traditional party nominees,
Newsweek reports. "This is a billion-dollar campaign," Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg's chief political adviser, told Newsweek aboard Bloomberg's
Falcon 9 jet late last week. He then amended the declaration-slightly: "If it happens, it's a billion-dollar campaign." If it happens. What would make
it happen? In Sheekey's view-on the record, Bloomberg himself answers questions about his White House ambitions by saying he has 790-odd days to go as mayor, and that he could not be happier-the two major parties may wind up nominating candidates with negative ratings at or above 40 percent.
Looking ahead to the future, Bloomberg tells Newsweek, "I am not running for president. I have 790-odd days to go in this job, the greatest
job in the world-maybe the second greatest job. The mayor's job is where you can really get things done ... And I have been successful in business,
and I hope when I leave this job they will say I was a good mayor or a great mayor. Philanthropy will probably be the next big thing. I am lucky
enough to have a lot of money, I am planning on giving it all away, and I think you change the world that way."
Bloomberg believes, "The job of being president is to lead the country and the legislature, and it is pulling those together. And because America
is the only remaining superpower, you are the leader of the free world, it is having the credibility and working with other countries to get them all
to work together to stop genocide, to stop nuclear proliferation, to make sure we have fair trade among countries... And one of the sad things is
that at the moment America is not liked around the world. We are closing our eyes ... And I don't hear from the candidates how they would go about
pulling the world together, getting people to respect us."
Pressed once more, he says he is not running, but then offers a lucid, if indirect, case for a man like him at a time like this, Newsweek reports.
"I think that the candidates are not addressing, in a way at least I can understand, what they would do if they got elected. Unfortunately in the
process that we go through-all of these, quote, 'debates'- ... there's no way to do that," he says.