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NYC mayor cozies up to Democrats as election nears

NYC mayor cozies up to Democrats as election nears

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was a Republican the last time he campaigned for his job. Now as he prepares to run for re-election in his left-leaning city, he seems to be trying to bury his Republican past.
The billionaire mayor, who was a lifelong Democrat before he changed to Republican for his first run in 2001 and then later switched into an independent, has been moving to align himself with high-profile Democrats.
His latest came in an announcement Tuesday that he will celebrate New Year's Eve on national television with former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who are extremely popular in the city.
The mayor invited the Clintons to join him in pushing the ceremonial button that lowers the famous crystal ball in Times Square.
Bloomberg also recently hired longtime Clinton strategist Howard Wolfson to join his re-election campaign. The move surprised some political watchers because of Wolfson's alliances with Democrats who might end up opposing Bloomberg.
Wolfson has openly agonized about the failure of Democrats to capture City Hall for four mayoral elections in a row. In a New York Times op-ed article after Bloomberg's landslide re-election victory in 2005, Wolfson wrote about "what the Democrats can do to recapture City Hall in 2009."
He also bemoaned how Bloomberg's ability to tap his billions and bankroll his campaign "distorts the terms of the debate" and suggested re-examining the city's campaign finance law.
By hiring Wolfson, Bloomberg is stealing a weapon other Democrats could have used in their campaigns. He also brings himself another step closer to the Clintons, who have never endorsed him for mayor.
In addition, Bloomberg has heaped praise on Caroline Kennedy since it became known she wants to be appointed to the U.S. Senate to replace Hillary Clinton, who is expected to be confirmed as secretary of state in President-elect Barack Obama's administration.
Asked Tuesday whether anything should be read into his public cozying up to Democrats, Bloomberg demurred.
"I don't know that my links to Democrats are growing any more than my links to Republicans, or not growing, depending on who you ask," he said.
Bloomberg, who said in 2006 that he "couldn't be prouder to run on the Republican ticket and be a Republican," similarly downplayed his Republican ties during his last campaign. He spoke out more forcefully against President George W. Bush that year and largely avoided Bush during the 2004 Republican convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City.


Updated : 2021-05-14 00:39 GMT+08:00