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Governor Bloomberg?

By Robert D. Novak

Saturday, March 15, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The disgraced Eliot Spitzer had hardly resigned as governor of New York when Republican strategists began calculating a return to power in Albany via New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Lt. Gov. David Paterson, Spitzer's successor as governor, is considered a weak prospect for the 2010 election and might not even be the Democratic nominee. Bloomberg, finishing two successful terms as mayor in 2009, might find life as a private citizen boring enough to try for governor. Bloomberg, who changed his affiliation from Republican to independent, could obtain the Independence Party nomination for governor, and then be endorsed by the GOP.

A footnote: Democratic state legislators watching television Monday cheered when they heard the disliked Spitzer admit his guilt. But that joy faded as the Democrats contemplated that Spitzer's fall could trigger a Republican comeback in 2010. Democrats contemplate a takeover of all branches of the state government to control decennial redistricting.

PREDICTING SPITZER

Republican political operative Roger Stone, Eliot Spitzer's longtime antagonist, predicted the New York governor's political demise more than three months in advance.

"Eliot Spitzer will not serve out his term as governor of the state of New York," Stone said Dec. 6 on Michael Smerconish's radio talk show on Philadelphia's 1210 WPHT. He gave no details.

Spitzer's sudden entrapment by federal authorities investigating a prostitution ring raised immediate speculation that Stone, with a 40-year record as a political hit man, somehow was behind it. In truth, Stone had nothing to do with the investigation and said he had not heard about it when he made a prediction based on his general view of Spitzer.

RECLUSIVE BARACK

Early morning trainers and exercisers at the Greenville, Miss., YMCA on Mississippi primary day last Tuesday got a taste of Sen. Barack Obama's reclusiveness, which the traveling press corps has learned to accept.

After speaking at Tougaloo College on Monday night, Obama went to the "Y" at 6:30 a.m. for a workout. He greeted nobody and did not respond when people there called out to him. That aloofness has been the pattern in the Democratic presidential candidate's behavior toward reporters who cover him.

After finishing his workout, Obama returned to his gregarious campaign mode with a visit to black-owned Buck's restaurant in Greenville before leaving the state. He won Mississippi comfortably against Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Cox for VP?

Former conservative colleagues in the House of Representatives are boosting Christopher Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) since 2005, to be Sen. John McCain's vice presidential running mate.

A White House aide under President Ronald Reagan, Cox served 16 years as a congressman from Orange County, Calif., and was chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. He was named as a federal appeals court judge to begin President George W. Bush's administration, but withdrew after Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California announced her opposition.

Former Rep. Rob Portman of Ohio, who also was a member of the House leadership before joining the Bush Cabinet, is being promoted for vice president by Washington insiders. But Cox's backers in the House argue that Portman lacks Cox's stature in the conservative movement, which they say McCain needs.

Republican Loser

Important Illinois Republicans are urging dairy mogul Jim Oberweis, who last Saturday lost the district previously held by Speaker Dennis Hastert, to drop out of the competition for a full term. However, it is unlikely Oberweis would consider stepping aside.

Oberweis, who had lost three previous bids for statewide office, won nominations both to fill the unexpired term of the resigned Hastert and for the two-year term. After losing his self-financed campaign to businessman-scientist Bill Foster for the short term, Oberweis is given little chance in a November rerun.

Losing Hastert's predominantly Republican district means the Democrats can gain two to four additional congressional seats from Illinois in this year's elections.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

See Other Political Commentaries

See Other Commentaries by Robert D. Novak

Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports.

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