Eyes on White House?

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," January 2, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HEATHER NAUERT, "BIG STORY" CO-HOST: Our coverage of You Decide 2008 continues with a big buzz of the contest and that is the buzz about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg will be at a meeting in Oklahoma this weekend with other potential presidential contenders to, get this, talk about possibly running a third-party candidate.

JOHN GIBSON, "BIG STORY" CO-HOST: That's got everybody's attention, again, about the independent politician's 2008 intentions. Today the Big Apple leader got to the core of what he's going to do and not going to do this election season. What is his final answer? "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy is here with more. Douglas?

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, John and Heather, he insisted again today he is not running for president in 2008, but some say you have to look at what he's doing rather than what he's saying.


KENNEDY (voice-over): He's got the money. He's got the time, and he's got the right party affiliation. The question is, will Mike Bloomberg make an independent run for the presidency this November?

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YOR CITY MAYOR: I'm not a candidate. I'm not a candidate, but I am going to speak up.

KENNEDY: That was the New York mayor's response to the question this morning, but his actions this week are speaking louder than his words. Right now, the mayor is planning to attend a conference at the University of Oklahoma on Sunday. Made up of high-profile political centrists all fed up with partisan bickering in Washington.

What is the purpose of this conference?

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, FORMER NJ GOVERNOR: We've been talking about our concerns about what is happening to the political process in Washington, the stalemates, partisanships and bitterness and obviously the presidential elections give you a chance to focus people on it.

KENNEDY: Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman is attend attending along with a list of former and current middle-of-the-road power players, including former Democratic Senators Sam Nunn and Gary Hart, and current Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. Whitman said she can't imagine supporting an independent bid but says she has never seen a political atmosphere that is more ripe for one.

WHITMAN: I'd have to say if ever there were a time, since this would be the first time since 1952 that we haven't had an incumbent running and because the party is -- each party is moving more to the extremes in the course of these primaries, the American public might just get fed up.

KENNEDY: Almost a third of the American public got fed up in 1912, throwing their support behind T.R. and the Bull Moosers in what stands as the most successful independent bid for the presidency in the modern era.

And in 1992, Ross Perot got nearly 19 percent of the popular vote in his third-party run. Like Roosevelt, Bloomberg recently declared himself an independent and will next year be a former New York City mayor, being forced out next year by term limits.

Like Perot, the mayor has hundreds of millions of dollars to spend which some say makes him the perfect independent candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you have someone like Bloomberg, who is willing to spend a billion dollars and you could make serious discussion of a billion dollars.


KENNEDY (on camera): And Bloomberg can easily spend a billion dollars. In fact, a recent estimate by a New York newspaper put his personal net worth at over $20 billion. So, John and Heather, that is a lot of campaign cash.

GIBSON: If Bloomberg were to play the role of the spoiler, who would he hurt?

KENNEDY: The conventional wisdom is that he would hurt the Republican. He was recently a Republican, and the Republican base so angry this year, they're the ones that are volatile and looking for change, but I got to think that it really depends on who the nominees are, if you get a pro-war Republican staunchly pro-war Republican and Bloomberg turns out to be washy-washy on the war and you get a wishy-washy war Democrat, I have got to believe it draws votes from the Democrats.

GIBSON: Douglas Kennedy, Douglas, thank you very much.

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