A more frequent publishing of Rich Galen's take on politics, culture and general modern annoyances. This is in addition to MULLINGS which is published Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays at

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Advice for Bloomberg

The New York Daily News ran this on Sunday. Someone called me about it, but I forgot to look for it until now.

One note: I had nothing to do with the Contract for America. I was out of politics at the time and was running the Middle East for IT company EDS (founded by one of Ed Rollins' former bosses).


Ballot battle plan

Pros offer strategies for Bloomy campaign


Posted Sunday, June 24th 2007, 4:00 AM

Mayor Bloomberg

Mayor Bloomberg has to know the odds are stacked against him getting elected President as an independent.

It's never happened before - just getting on the ballot in 50 states will be difficult, and he's far less well-known outside New York. But Bloomberg has billions of dollars to spend, he can skip the bruising primary elections and he can push an independent message in a time when plenty of Americans are sick of politics as usual.

Here, five political veterans tell the Daily News how they'd manage a Bloomberg for President campaign - even though most think it's a race he can't win.


Experience: Republican strategist, campaign manager for Ronald Reagan in 1984 and independent Ross Perot in 1992

Message: Don't push ideology; run on a platform of sound fiscal management. Use his governance of New York City as an example, but also point to creating a multibillion-dollar business from nothing. "He's a success story, and I think that's what a lot of people are looking for."
Strategy: Stay out of the running until after the Democratic and Republican party primaries - candidates will be wounded and short of money, and Americans sick of the infighting will be ready for a fresh face. "I would run a national campaign. I would not run state-by-state."
Could he win? "Not likely."

Experience: Republican strategist, helped push Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America"

Message: Get out of New York and tour the country, but don't worry about trying to be charismatic. Bloomberg's managerial strength has a natural appeal to voters in all 50 states, even if he isn't a natural politician like Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton. "When people say there has to be a likability factor to run for President, I say two words: Richard Nixon."

Strategy: Talk loud and often about America's big issues, even while Democrats and Republicans are battling in their primaries. Bloomberg would attract media attention and stand out as a clear-headed alternative. "The first thing I would do would be to portray everybody else in both parties at either the left or right edge of American society." Could he win? "I don't think he has a prayer."


Experience: Longtime pollster and political junkie Message: Polls show the top two things voters are looking for in a candidate are competent management and a willingness to cross party lines - Bloomberg's strengths. But the third priority is how to run America's wars, which Bloomberg hasn't addressed. "What people are telling us, at least for now, is that they want to put ideology aside and they want the anti-Bush." Strategy: Don't just look for the moderate middle - reach out to disaffected Republicans and Democrats who aren't happy with their own parties' plans and candidates. "Find those centrist voters. In this era of microtargeting, that's easy to do."

Could he win? "He's got the right stuff this year. The election is going to be won in the center."


Experience: Democratic strategist, spokesman for Clinton White House and Al Gore campaign

Message: Bloomberg's "post-partisan" model is appealing, but he needs more than a management style to get elected - he needs new ideas if he's going to distinguish himself. "You could certainly see him using the candidacy to export the Mike Bloomberg way of leadership to the country."
Strategy: Unveil the campaign slowly, using his enormous financial cushion to avoid jumping in too early - and if the race starts to seem hopeless, drop out and become the Democrats' nominee for vice president. "He could still spend his billion dollars on behalf of the ticket."
Could he win? "It seems very difficult to come up with an ultimate road map to victory."


Experience: Democratic strategist, worked for Gore and John Kerry's campaigns

Message: Bloomberg brings a straight-talk appeal, but he can't coast for too long as the fresh independent face. As the honeymoon ends, he will have to come up with strong plans on tough issues like health care and Iraq. "He has a kind of charisma of anti-charisma. He exudes competence, and his message exudes competence." Strategy: Focus on the Electoral College from the start, and pick up states where he would finish first even with less than 40% of the vote. But he should always weigh whether he would siphon votes away from his natural allies - and whether he would end up being a spoiler. "He has to calculate what are the realistic chances he could win. He has to calculate who does he help and who does he hurt."
Could he win? "It would be difficult, but not impossible."


Lincoln said...

Isn't calling Bob Shrum "pro" a bigger oversight than putting you on the "Contract With America" team?

June 26, 2007 3:01 PM  
Rich Galen said...

He's done a lot of campaigns.

June 26, 2007 7:12 PM  
Terry_Jim said...

True, he is a pro.

Like the Oakland Raiders are pros, though their 9 game losing streak is longer than Mr. Shrum's 0-8
(or is it 0-7?) streak.

Interesting advice and commentary from all. Mr.Shrum is more concerned about Bloomberg being a 'spoiler' than how he might win.

Zogby's take is funny. Are restricting smoking in public and trans-fats in restaurants big centrist issues?

June 26, 2007 9:25 PM  
tericee said...

I guess you and Ed are the only two that aren't hoping to get hired. The other guys were very non-commital with their answers to whether he could win.

BTW, is there an RSS feed of your Blog available?

June 27, 2007 2:16 PM  
Rich Galen said...

The blog is still in it's testing stage. RSS feed to follow!

Thanks, all.


June 27, 2007 7:58 PM  

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