New York Mayor Bloomberg Says He Won't Run for U.S. President Joseph Galante and Henry Goldman Thu Feb 28, 12:32 AM ET Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ended months of speculation that he might become a candidate for U.S. president, saying he would use his influence to push for nonpartisan solutions to the nation's problems. ``I listened carefully to those who encouraged me to run, but I am not -- and will not be -- a candidate for president,'' Bloomberg, 66, wrote in an editorial published in today's edition of the New York Times. ``In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to work to steer the national conversation away from partisanship and toward unity; away from ideology and toward common sense; away from sound bites and toward substance,'' Bloomberg wrote. In June, Bloomberg renounced his Republican Party affiliation and declared himself an independent. Before his election as mayor in 2001, he had been a lifelong Democrat. While ruling out a candidacy on his own, Bloomberg took back previous assertions that he would refrain from endorsing anyone. ``The race is too important to sit on the sidelines, and so I have changed my mind in one area,'' he wrote. ``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.'' Bloomberg's mayoralty has been characterized by efforts to limit gun sales to criminals, improve the city's public schools, and experiment with incentive-based programs to encourage people to lift themselves from poverty. The city's crime rate has dropped to a historic low, with less than 500 homicides in 2007, the fewest since the police department began keeping such records in the 1960s. He has promoted wide-ranging public-health efforts aimed at reducing smoking and obesity, increasing access to medical clinics and aggressive monitoring through the use of testing and surveillance for AIDS and other infectious diseases. `Practical Solutions' In the past year, he has traveled to several U.S. cities and as far as China and Indonesia to promote those efforts and to rally governments to pursue policies that would reduce carbon gas emissions and conserve energy. Earlier this month, he addressed a United Nations conference on climate control. Bloomberg has a little less than two years remaining before term limits end his mayoralty on Dec. 31, 2009. ``I am hopeful that the current campaigns can rise to the challenge by offering truly independent leadership,'' he wrote. ``The most productive role that I can serve is to push them forward, by using the means at my disposal to promote a real and honest debate.'' Previous Polling Bloomberg, the billionaire founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, has the capacity to self- finance a presidential campaign. He had some preliminary polling done and conducted conversations about a potential candidacy with national political figures such as U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, according to reports by the Associated Press and the Times. Bloomberg, who Forbes magazine estimated in September was worth $11.5 billion, received his highest approval ratings yet in a WNBC/Marist College Polling Institute survey released Feb. 26. The poll showed 66 percent of city voters rated his performance as excellent or good. The same poll, with a 4.5 percent error margin, reported 54 percent didn't want him to run for president. To contact the reporters on this story: Joseph Galante in San Francisco at email@example.com ; Henry Goldman in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org ____________________________________________ It would be interesting to see him support Nader, or some other third-party candidate. It would take the level of support that insanely wealthy individuals like Bloomberg could provide in order for any third-party candidate to even come close to gaining equal footing with the Republicans and Democrats. It would also help if any truly serious fringe candidate chose to start campaigning for office at the same time as the other parties, instead of waiting as long as Nader has.