Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the richest men in America, says his views are too polarizing for him to become president of the United States.
But analysts say however much he may protest, conditions may be gelling for Bloomberg, who came close to standing for the White House in 2008, to run in 2012 as an independent.
Voter distaste for both the Democratic and Republican parties and perceptions of government incompetence on big issues, from the Iraq War to the Gulf oil spill, could herald a new chance for the three-term mayor.
“He’s got the right climate and he’s got the money. Resources are always an issue for third-party candidates, but Bloomberg has got that covered,” said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Bloomberg, 68, is a fiscal conservative with liberal social views who is formally an independent. He combines proven political skills with business acumen and has drawn high ratings for his job running New York City.
At a speech in New Hampshire on Friday, Bloomberg, as he always does, dismissed suggestions that he intends to run.
“If the press is in the back — no, I’m not running. I want to make that clear.”
Still, the comments, and the speech’s setting, did little to silence the buzz.
Bloomberg was kicking off a “presidential lecture series” (actually named for the president of Dartmouth College, who was present) in the state which traditionally holds the first primary vote in the presidential election.
White House hopefuls often visit New Hampshire to test the waters for their campaign long before the election.