They traded thoughts about education, ruminated on the state of immigration and discussed the federal deficit.
But most intriguingly, they talked about the future. Over a long private lunch at the White House, President Obama posed a question to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg: what are you interested in doing next?
Mr. Bloomberg’s precise response is unknown. But their meeting a few weeks ago, confirmed by aides to both leaders and previously undisclosed, was potentially significant for both men, as Mr. Obama seeks support for his presidential campaign and Mr. Bloomberg ponders his post-mayoral career.
Mr. Obama, facing a bruising re-election fight, is eager to attract the kind of centrist, independent voters drawn to Mr. Bloomberg’s brand of politics.
Mr. Bloomberg, confronting the end of his career in elected office, is grappling with how to exert the kind of influence over public discourse that he has had as mayor of the nation’s largest city.
The lunch invitation is striking because Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Obama are thought not to be particularly close — nor to have an especially warm relationship. But the White House seems intent on courting Mr. Bloomberg.
Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said the lunch was part of a continuing dialogue that the president very much valued. Over the last two years, Mr. Obama has invited Mr. Bloomberg to play golf on Martha’s Vineyard and has dispatched Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to Gracie Mansion to seek the mayor’s views on the economy.
“They speak from time to time,” Mr. Carney said. “The president always enjoys an exchange of ideas and insights with Mayor Bloomberg and is appreciative of the mayor’s leadership on immigration, the economy and education, as well as his commitment to New York City.”
This is why the president's education policies and the mayor's education policies are inseparable - fire teachers, close schools, add standardized tests to every subject in every grade, tie teacher evaluations to those scores using an error-riddled VAM formula, tie teacher pay to those test scores.
When Mayor Bloomberg closes 33 SIG schools this year and fires half of the teachers, he will be using a policy developed and promoted by Barack Obama.
I just want to remind people of that fact as the 2012 campaign gears up.
People love to demonize Bloomberg as the villain in the Ed Deform World, and there is no doubt that Bloomberg relishes playing that role (see here for his star turn.)
But after eight years of the Obama administration, the same policies that Bloomberg pushes - school closing, teacher firings, charter school openings, testing, teacher evals and pay tied to scores - will be enshrined in every state in the nation as education policy by Barack Obama and his USDOE.