PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In an election year when anger and mistrust have upended races across the country, toppling moderates and elevating white-hot partisans, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is trying to pull politics back to the middle, injecting himself into marquee contests and helping candidates fend off the Tea Party.
New York’s billionaire mayor, whose flurry of activity is stirring a new round of speculation about his presidential ambitions, is supporting Republicans, Democrats and independents who he says are not bound by rigid ideology and are capable of compromise, qualities he says he fears have become alarmingly rare in American politics.
In the last election, Mr. Bloomberg, the nation’s most prominent and wealthiest independent elected official, explored the possibility of a presidential run but concluded that the moment was not right for a third-party candidacy. But his plunge back into national politics suggests he is once again seeking to elevate his profile and test the viability of running as a centrist problem solver.
Mike Murphy, a Republican political strategist who is advising Ms. Whitman’s campaign, called Mr. Bloomberg “a very special breed.”
“People see him not through a Democratic or Republican prism, but through a results, grown-up, get-it-fixed, make-it-work prism, which is very attractive,” Mr. Murphy said. “He has a very wide appeal.”
Ironic that the Times piece comes on the same weekend as this News article:
Mayor Bloomberg's political mastermind was outed in court papers Friday as the architect of a plan to hide $1.1 million in Election Day poll-watching.
Indicted campaign aide John Haggerty said in a 41-page motion that former Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey convinced Bloomberg to hire the state Independence Party to do the monitoring - instead of using his own campaign team.
Bloomberg's money went into the party's "housekeeping account," which is supposed to support only general party activities.
The Independence Party wasn't required to report the spending until two months after Bloomberg's reelection on Nov. 3, 2009. The party simply listed payments to a shell company Haggerty set up.
"It was Mr. Sheekey who decided that Mr. Haggerty should contact the Independence Party and request that ballot security be conducted through that political party," Haggerty's lawyers wrote.
Sheekey, who is now at Bloomberg LP, did not respond to requests for comment.
Haggerty is charged with stealing most of the $1.1 million and using at least $750,000 to buy a Queens home.
His lawyers say Haggerty ran a successful operation under the terms of Sheekey's arrangement - and that since Bloomberg donated the money to the Independence Party, he had no right to tell them how to spend it.
Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said Bloomberg did nothing wrong.
"It was a donation," Wolfson said. "It was not an expenditure."
Ah, yes Bloomberg will be the "savior" of the country in 2012 because he is above petty politics and business as usual.
If they keep digging into this Haggerty story, it eventually reaches Bloomberg.
And if they dig even more, they'll find other stories like this one too.
Bloomberg uses his money to subvert democracy and buy elections.
That's what he does.
That's what he did in 2009 when he won his illegal third term.
That's what he's doing right now in 2010.
And if conditions are right, he'll try doing the same in 2012 if and when he tries to buy the White House with his cash.
There is nothing "special" about Bloomberg.
He's just another crooked politician.