Michael Bloomberg For President? No Problem, Say Trump, Sanders, Clinton

With billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg making headlines this past week amid speculation that he is mulling a launch at the 2016 presidential elections, the big contenders on either side of the political spectrum have finally weighed in on the premise. The message so far is clear: it’s business as usual. In fact, his major rivals seem to welcome the Michael Bloomberg challenge. Is it a realistic assessment or just bravado?

The rumors of Bloomberg’s alleged run at the White House have been widely reported in most major media outlets over the last few days, starting with a major story in the New York Times. Sources close to Michael Bloomberg reported that events are at the planning stages for a campaign launch. A decision is expected to be reached by early March – the last date when Michael Bloomberg can have his name added to the ballots of all 50 states. The former mayor is said to be spurred into action at the prospect of a Trump candidacy, coupled by Senator Bernie Sanders’ lead over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Prepared to spend up to $1 billion of his own cash on the campaign — as Michael Bloomberg purportedly told advisers — he certainly has the means for a credible run at the Oval Office. Preparations have included hiring a consultant and conducting a number of polls to gauge Bloomberg’s chances against his major rival candidates.

The competition reacted with typical aplomb. Republican candidate Donald Trump remains confident of his chances at the presidency in view of a possible challenge from Michael Bloomberg. As part of New York City’s billionaire elite, Trump and Michael Bloomberg have bumped up against each other in social circles and have often been photographed together at various functions. Trump had this to say during an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press.

“Michael has been a friend of mine over the years, I don’t know if we’re friends anymore, frankly. But Michael has been a friend of mine. I would love to have Michael Bloomberg run. I would love that competition.”

Meet the Press was once again the forum for Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders to weigh in on Michael Bloomberg as a possible contender. Sanders was confident during the interview on Sunday, January 24, where he pointed out that a Trump/Bloomberg/Sanders card would see him running against two billionaires, a prospect he said the American people would not want.

“And I think the American people do not want to see our nation move toward an oligarchy, where billionaires control the political process. I think we’ll win that election.”

Hillary Clinton also weighed in on the NBC current affairs program to say she was unfazed by the prospect of a Michael Bloomberg candidacy, and vowed to win the Democratic candidacy herself to prevent Bloomberg from ever having to enter the race.

Other observers, however, aren’t so dismissive of a Michael Bloomberg race for the White House. Anthony Weiner, a former Congressman and New York City mayoral candidate, told the Daily Beast that he believes in Bloomberg’s chances — provided he’s facing Trump or Cruz as the Republican candidates and Sanders on the Democrat side.

While left-leaning on issues such as abortion rights and gun control, Michael Bloomberg crosses towards the right of the political spectrum when it comes to business and fiscal issues, positioning him somewhere between the two traditional parties.

No independent candidate has ever been elected as President of the United States, but this year, a run by Michael Bloomberg is just the latest twist in a presidential race that has been anything but ordinary.

[Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

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