The Bloomberg for President campaign did not specifically deny a report from Saturday indicating that Bloomberg was considering failed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, for a running mate if he snags the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Saturday night, the campaign addressed the rumors, redirecting attention to Bloomberg’s effort to upend the current nomination content and away from speculation over whom the former New York City mayor would select as his vice president.
“We’re focused on the campaign and the debate, not vice presidential speculation,” Bloomberg’s communication director, Jason Schechter, told media, per the New York Daily News.
The campaign, though, stopped short of pointedly denying that Bloomberg is considering Clinton, prompting further speculation.
An “unnamed source” allegedly told the Drudge Report, Saturday, that Bloomberg was eyeing the former Secretary of State to consolidate the Democrats behind a Bloomberg versus President Donald Trump contest, apparently in the hopes that a Bloomberg/Clinton ticket could draw in “resistance” voters who might prefer a contest between Trump and Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders.
Drudge, though, gave no further information beyond, “that [Bloomberg] is considering Hillary as running mate, after their polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force,” and that Bloomberg is considering relocating his “official residence” from New York to Colorado or Florida so as to avoid Electoral College rules that prevent two candidates from the same state appearing on the same presidential ticket.
The story is, at best, a rumor, particularly given that Clinton herself told Ellen Degeneres last week that she is not interested in the Veep slot.
“I never say never because I believe in serving my country,” she told the daytime talk show host. “But it’s never going to happen.”
She has not addressed Saturday’s rumors directly.
Republicans, it seems, were all too happy to welcome Clinton back into the presidential contest, convinced that the former Secretary of State’s 2016 appearance — and her excuse-laden post-election interviews, lackluster book sales, and failed speaking tour all provide evidence that the Clinton era is official over.
“Crooked would add partisan lightning rod dynamic Bloomberg *currently* avoids in the general,” former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller wrote on social media.
So what is behind the rumors? Politico speculates that the Bloomberg campaign may have floated the rumor itself, in an attempt to distract from a week’s worth of bad news, including interviews that surfaced showing Bloomberg defending a controversial “stop-and-frisk” crime control program that worked to lower New York City’s crime rate but which critics derided as racially motivated.
Sources, Politico said Sunday, “noted the report clouded the news cycle after the New York Times and Washington Post released deep-dive stories on Saturday morning that detailed Bloomberg’s philanthropy-for-influence network and history of alleged sexist comments respectively.”
Polling expert Nate Silver suggested that, while Bloomberg’s camp might not be responsible for the rumor directly, they were certainly enjoying the earned media, particularly in light of the upcoming Nevada caucuses, where Bloomberg will appear on a ballot for the first time next to Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Any day that the media spends talking about Bloomberg instead of Buttigieg or Klobuchar, or even Biden … is probably good news for Bloomberg,” Silver said on Twitter. “He doesn’t want any of the other moderates to emerge with momentum.”