Bloomberg Gives a Final 'No'
BILL WOLFF (Announcer): From NPR News in New York, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.
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ALISON STEWART, host:
We are, indeed, a live from the NPR studios at Bryant Park in mid-town Manhattan. This is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News - news, information and ready to make the leap. I'm Alison Stewart.
RACHEL MARTIN, host:
STEWART: We are.
MARTIN: I'm Rachel Martin. It's Thursday, February 28th, 2008.
STEWART: I know. I feel like I should do something special tomorrow. It's leap day. A leap year.
MARTIN: You have something special you do every four years?
STEWART: No. I could answer that in a very saucy manner, but I will not. But I'll think of something before tomorrow. I have time. I have time.
MARTIN: Okay. We can develop our own special leap year holiday celebration tradition starting tomorrow.
STEWART: On the show today, we do to Texas what we did to Ohio yesterday. Don't worry, it won't hurt. We just looked at the demographics that the Democrats are facing in these Tuesday contest on March 4th. Texas also has a big day coming up. And the thing is, the way they divvy up their delegates, it's fairly - I would say complex/odd.
STEWART: And we will explain.
MARTIN: And odd is saying something in this delegate race.
MARTIN: I feel like everything is kind of odd. So that will be interesting. Also we're going to talk with a man named John Pick. His father, Grant Pick, was a legend - a legendary writer in Chicago. He wrote for 25 years for the Chicago Reader. There's a new book out that John Pick has edited, an anthology of his father's work. It's called "The People Are the News: Grant Pick's Chicago Stories."
STEWART: And we'll talk about a program that's generated some controversy here in New York and likely in other cities where it takes place. It's the catching, neutering and then re-releasing of cats back on the street - feral cats, stray cats. We'll talk to someone who's been involved in this program. We'll also get today's headlines in just a minute. But first, here's the BPP's Big Story.
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MARTIN: The emergence of a centrist Republican, John McCain, and a work-across-party-lines Democrat, Barack Obama, appears to have finally shut the door for good on a third party presidential run by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
STEWART: Today, the billionaire mayor puts a big fat exclamation point on a series of denials that he wants to, say, live in the White House. In an op-ed in today's New York Times, he writes, quote, "I listened carefully to those who encouraged me to run, but I am not and will not be a candidate for president," end quote.
MARTIN: Now we know what you're thinking. Hasn't he been saying this for months? Well, sort of, but always in a way that kept the media guessing. He said he wasn't running for president when he announced last summer he was leaving the Republican party to become an independent. But he also said, quote, "The more people that run for the office, the better."
STEWART: He baulked when Web sites popped up encouraging him to run, and he told us not to read into it when he attended a high level bipartisan forum at the University of Oklahoma in January. The man even looked Ryan Seacrest in the eye during New Year's Rocking Eve and said it wasn't happening. Still, behind the scenes, Bloomberg's camp was reportedly looking in to a run all along. Soon after he was re-elected in 2005, his aide suggested he could spend a billion dollars on a White House bid.
MARTIN: And the speculation has resurfaced periodically ever since. Here's part of the story that aired just a few weeks ago, right after Super Tuesday, on New York's local CBS television station.
Unidentified Man: His aides are busy laying the ground work for an independent run. Three critical insiders told CBS 2 they think last night's results make Bloomberg more likely to run. They say the more conservatives feud with moderates over John McCain and the more Democrats fight over Clinton versus Obama, the more room there'll be for a third candidate.
STEWART: Now his aides tell the Associated Press, it's really over. Bloomberg's run would have relied upon voters who were disenfranchised by more extreme candidates in both parties. But the rise in McCain and Obama, both of whom are succeeding in that demographic, seems to have put the kibosh on his aspirations - at least for this year.
MARTIN: So what's next for the mayor? From the sound of today's New York Times piece, an endorsement. But for whom? Bloomberg writes, quote, "If a candidate takes an independent, nonpartisan approach and embraces practical solutions that challenge party orthodoxy, I'll join others in helping that candidate win the White House," end quote.
STEWART: That is the BPP's Big Story. Now let's get some more of today's headlines.
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