NY's Bloomberg: presidential candidates fall short

NEW YORK Wed Jan 2, 2008 4:21pm EST

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg smiles during a news conference at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Nusa Dua, Bali December 14, 2007. Bloomberg insisted again on Wednesday he has no plans to run for president, but criticized the entire field of candidates for coming up short on every major issue. REUTERS/Supri

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg smiles during a news conference at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Nusa Dua, Bali December 14, 2007. Bloomberg insisted again on Wednesday he has no plans to run for president, but criticized the entire field of candidates for coming up short on every major issue.

Credit: Reuters/Supri

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg insisted again on Wednesday he has no plans to run for president, but criticized the entire field of candidates for coming up short on every major issue.

Despite Bloomberg's repeated statements that he is not a candidate, many political analysts believe the billionaire is considering running in the November election as an independent who would self-finance his campaign.

"There's no one candidate. Don't say, OK, Bloomberg's criticizing A, B or C on either side. It's all of them, and I think that's the frustration you see among a lot of independently minded people you see along both sides of the aisle," Bloomberg told a news conference.

"I have not heard anybody who's said what they'd really do when it comes to foreign policy, how they would rebuild the relationships America has around the world," Bloomberg said.

Interest in Bloomberg has grown since it was announced on Sunday that he would attend a forum in Oklahoma next week called by Unity 08, a bipartisan group that believes the Republican and Democratic parties are out of touch and unduly influenced by special interests.

"I have the opportunity to participate in that dialogue as the mayor of New York City and I plan to do it," Bloomberg said.

A day before voters in Iowa convene the country's first election-year caucus and six days before the nation's first primary in New Hampshire, Bloomberg expressed little confidence in the contenders.

"You can go right down the list," he said, naming immigration reform, free trade and the violence in the Darfur region of Sudan, as issues where candidates failed to offer bold solutions.

The longtime Democrat became a billionaire through the successful financial information and media company he founded, Bloomberg LP.

He then turned to politics, switching to the Republican Party to run for mayor in 2001. He won twice, spending more than $150 million of his own money, then dropped his party affiliation in June, again fueling speculation he was planning a nonpartisan run.

"I think what we have to do is, rather than pull ourselves apart and let the special interests dictate what we do, we've got to find ways to get the best and the brightest from both sides of the aisle, bring them together and get them to focus on the international and national issues that matter and do it in an intelligent way," he said.

(Editing by Daniel Trotta)

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