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Friday, May 23, 2008

The Catch

Both McCain and Obama are looking at Mayor Bloomberg for V.P. because he’s rich, Jewish, and with a head for business. What’s not to like?

By John Hellemann, NY Magazine
Illustration by André Carrilho

The morning before John McCain’s sprightly turn on Saturday Night Live on May 17, the de facto GOP presidential nominee had breakfast at Sarabeth’s on Central Park South with Michael Bloomberg and his girlfriend, Diana Taylor. This much you may have read in the Post, which reported that the trio consumed scrambled eggs and coffee and left a 20 percent tip. (The tab was picked up by the McCain campaign—which is akin in its degree of absurdity to a homeless guy’s stuffing a $5 bill into Warren Buffett’s pocket.) A McCain spokesman quoted by the Post added that “discussing a vice-presidential slot for Bloomberg was not on the agenda.” But a source close to the mayor informs me that the topic of McCain’s V.P. search was very much on the menu. One of the participants, in fact, came away from the conversation under the distinct impression that Bloomberg is on McCain’s short list.

Speculation about the possibility of Mike for veep is nothing new, of course. It’s been bubbling ever since late February, when the mayor decided, once and for all, not to launch an independent bid for the White House. Yet, by and large, the ruminations have revolved not around Bloomberg’s being McCain’s running mate but Barack Obama’s. The hopemonger has courted the mayor, not only orchestrating a breakfast op of his own but running an important economic speech past Bloomberg before he delivered it. And Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey, as is his wont, has been stoking the flames like some kind of meth-addled pyromaniac. Moreover, according to a friend of mine who witnessed the exchange, a non-Sheekey member of Bloomberg’s inner circle recently told a prominent CEO in the city that Bloomberg’s and Obama’s people held a meeting in April to discuss the former’s suitability to being the latter’s No. 2.

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