9:40 am Feb. 6, 20121
Yesterday morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, appeared on separate Sunday shows to offer, respectively, the independent and "moderate"-Republican perspectives on the presidential race.
Both of them had a dim view.
On "Meet the Press," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said no one was talking about the real ways to solve the deficit problem, and restated his preference for letting all the Bush tax cuts expire and pursuing the plan sketched by the Simpson-Bowles Commission.
"What disturbs me is when you listen to all of the rhetoric in the campaign, nobody's really talking about how they are going to close an $8 trillion deficit over the next 10 years," Bloomberg said. "Where is the revenue going to come from? How do you make it fair when you have to increase revenue, when you have to increase revenue, you cannot cut your ways out of this. And when you cut, what things are you going to cut? And every time I listen to them cut programs, it's 'I'll protect your program if you protect mine.'"
Notwithstanding his tone—the mayor's independent, anti-partisan posture on national issues is contingent on assessing blame to both parties in Washington, and decrying "partisan bickering"—the substance of his remarks on deficit-reduction measues was largely in line with the Obama administration, substantively.
And in terms of message, the mayor's comments should please the administration, which has been trying to shift to a campaign-season conversation about tax policy, after a year almost entirely devoted to negotiating spending cuts with a combative Congress.
Bloomberg also agreed that the economy was improving, and objected to Obama's Republican opponents "dissing" the progress that has been made.
"Let's put it in football terms," said Bloomberg, who is not much of a sports fan but felt compelled—along with all the other guests—to belabor the football metaphors on behalf of Super Bowl Sunday. "Can you imagine a coach who would put [in] a back-up quarterback if all he did on the sidelines was criticize the starting quarterback? I don't think so. We need the president to succeed, whether he's going to be in office for 11 months or four years and 11 months."
On "Face the Nation," Giuliani was asked about the nomination fight among Republicans, who are currently facing the prospect of a scorned Newt Gingrich taking his blistering criticisms of Mitt Romney all the way to the convention.
Giuliani, who had previously criticized Gingrich for disparaging Romney's work at Bain Capital, said he was "concerned" about the fighting, but that he didn't think it "is hurting yet."
And he reiterated his own prior criticism of Romney's shifting positions on the issues, making the "moderate" case against Romney, who he ran against in 2008.
"I am a moderate Republican, that's what I am," Giuliani said. "So I'd be inclined to support someone like Mitt Romney. But all those changes in positions give me pause."
Giuliani didn't exactly answer a question about whether there are any moderate Republicans left in the Republican Party, but did say there weren't enough to give him any regrets about not entering the race.
"No, no, no, no," he said. "If Mitt Romney having changed all those positions isn't conservative enough yet, believe me, I wouldn't have had a chance. I'm realistic enough to know how Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, how they would vote. And they would like me on economics, they would like me on national security, but they wouldn't like me on my social views and I'm not about to change them."