While both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are relatively popular within their own parties, they are hated by the general electorate. If the election ends up being between those two, we might well see the first election anyone can remember in which both parties nominate someone whose unfavorables with the general electorate are in the 60s. It's no surprise then that the diminutive former mayor of New York sees an opening in 2016.
On Meet the Press this morning, Chuck Todd asked Hillary about the possibility of Bloomberg running and her answer was, basically, that she's already filling the role of mother-in-law in chief:
Todd: Michael Bloomberg. Your reaction to his potential candidacy?
Clinton: Um, he's a good friend of mine, and, um, I'm going to do the best I can to make sure that I get the nomination, and we'll go from there.
Todd: Uh, so, you're not worried about him getting in?
Clinton: Well, the way I read what he said is, if I didn't get the nomination, he might consideration. Well, I'm going to relieve him of that and get the nomination so he doesn't have to.
As a side note, has any politician in history ever delivered every line in a more patronizing, old money blue blood mother-in-law tone than Hillary Clinton does?
But back to the substance of Clinton's allegation, in point of fact, that's not what Bloomberg said. It's more or less the opposite of what he said, really. What he said was that he was concerned about the fact that her campaign thus far has been a flaming trainwreck and that even if she manages to scrape past Bernie she might be mortally wounded in the general:
At the same time, these associates said, he has grown more frustrated with what he sees a race gone haywire. A longtime critic of partisan primary elections, Mr. Bloomberg has lamented what he considers Mrs. Clinton’s lurch to the left in her contest against Mr. Sanders, especially her criticism of charter schools and other education reforms that he pushed as mayor and has continued to support since leaving office.
At a dinner party late last fall at the home of Roger C. Altman, an investment banker and former deputy Treasury secretary, Mr. Bloomberg delivered a piquant assessment of Mrs. Clinton as a presidential candidate.
In the presence of Mr. Altman, a longtime supporter of Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, Mr. Bloomberg described her as a flawed politician, shadowed by questions about her honesty and the continuing investigation into her email practices as secretary of state, according to two people in attendance.
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Even a victory by Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic primaries might not preclude a bid by Mr. Bloomberg, his associates said, if he believed she had been gravely weakened by the contest.
It's a grave mistake for Clinton to talk so dismissively about a politician with an ego as large as Bloomberg's. It's also presumably a mistake to lie about what he just said yesterday when one of the things he specifically alleges is that you're a dishonest person. Clinton's one and only chance to win this general election is if she faces a one on one election against Trump. If she really wants to keep Bloomberg out of this, as she should, then she's going about this exactly the wrong way.