By MICHAEL GORMLEY
The Associated Press
Monday, May 14, 2007; 8:51 PM
ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg again rejected supporters Monday who wanted him to run for president. That includes Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel's suggestion that the nation could use an independent presidential ticket with Bloomberg and Hagel on it.
"I think he was probably joking," Bloomberg said in an Albany news conference pushing his environmental plan for New York City. "He speaks his mind ... he's not happy with the same things that I'm not happy about."
Hagel, a frequent critic of the Iraq war, made the suggestion on Sunday's "Face the Nation" on CBS.
Bloomberg, serving his last term under the city's term limit law, said a New York Daily News poll this week that found him ahead of Republican Rudolph Giuliani was flattering, but "the current mayor always has a real advantage."
"I thought Rudy Giuliani left the city better than he found it and I'm trying to take what he left and build on that," Bloomberg said.
The billionaire businessman was in Albany the same day U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton received a formal endorsement for president in a large outdoor ceremony from Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Bloomberg insists it was a coincidence and his Albany lobbying trip was planned before the 2008 presidential endorsement by the state's top Democrats was announced.
Bloomberg also shot down Republican state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno's continued mention to reporters that the mayor would be a great governor and could knock off Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer, with whom Bruno has been feuding.
"I am not running for governor," Bloomberg said of the job held by his friend and neighbor for four months. "My hope is that Governor Spitzer _ and expect Governor Spitzer _ is going to be a great governor and that he will go on for a long time being governor and I wish him all the best."