Obama, Bloomberg Hold Mystery Breakfast Meeting
Obama Picks Up Check; What They Discussed Is Not Known
The Independent mayor had a mystery breakfast meeting in Manhattan Friday morning with Democratic candidate Barack Obama, a move that could irk the Hillary Clinton campaign seeing as, after all, New York is her turf.
Bloomberg has repeatedly asserted he plans to complete his entire mayoral term and keep out of the presidential race, but he sure knows how to tease the masses.
Obama and Bloomberg met on a coffee date, scheduled because of their "mutual interest." The billionaire mayor and the Illinois senator chatted over eggs and potatoes early Friday at the New York Luncheonette on East 50th Street.
"We are trying to push our agenda because it helps New Yorkers, and because what's worked in New York will work elsewhere," said Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser. "There are a lot of people we'd like to speak to and we're going to continue to press our case."
Security closed the diner to regular customers while the politicians were there.
Members of the media gathered outside the glass window next to the booth where the pair appeared to partake in quite the serious conversation, with Obama keeping his index and middle fingers glued to his temple as he listened intently to an animated Bloomberg.
After the 45 minute meal, Obama picked up the $17.34 check, and he left a generous $10 tip, according to their waitress, Judith Perez.
"When I took the order, I was very nervous," she admitted.
Obama and Bloomberg then said their goodbyes, leaving in separate cars without addressing the media throng.
Loeser said among the topics discussed were global warming, homeland security, education, and the economy. He added that Bloomberg wasn't there for any other agenda such as joining forces as Obama's wingman against Clinton.
Thursday night, Obama made his first trip to Harlem as a presidential candidate, and the Apollo Theater was a packed with a sold out crowd charged just $50 each to see him. Before his visit to the Apollo, Obama paid his respects to one of Harlem's top powerbrokers in Rev. Al Sharpton, who says he hasn't decided who he is supporting.
Still the meeting sent a warning to Clinton that Harlem could be up for grabs.
"I trust him," said Harlem resident Angela Dews. "Hillary is slick. Democrats are taking us for granted."
By having breakfast with Obama, Bloomberg is doing what he said he would do while not running for president and dropping his Republican party affiliation: he is injecting himself into the national dialogue to try to influence the debate.
"I am going to speak out on those issues," Bloomberg said in June. "By not being affiliated with a party I think I'm going to have a better opportunity to do that."
Obama "is a person who is not only setting policy in the senate, he's also one of the handful of people who are shaping the national debate," Loeser said.
A spokesman for Obama, Robert Gibbs, said the men share a similar view: that Washington has been consumed by partisan politics.
Earlier this week, Bloomberg dined with Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, so today's mysterious photo-op with the Democrat Obama may be his way of showing how non-partisan he is in the presidential race.
Bloomberg speaks well of her publicly, but there is speculation he wanted to annoy Clinton, because she did not endorse him when he ran for mayor as a Republican. The two last met at the Sept. 11 anniversary ceremony, and their last private meeting was in March, Loeser said.