UPPER EAST SIDE — Mayor Michael Bloomberg may not be eyeing a run for president, but he's still got his sights set on Pennsylvania Avenue, regardless of what party's in power.
The Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent, whose been asked for years about a possible presidential run, told a room of bankers and business execs gathered at the Pierre Hotel Thursday that he would consider any posts offered by either a Democrat or Republican president.
"I don’t care who you are or what the party is, when the president calls and says your country needs you, you take a good look and say, ‘Can I do it? Do I have an obligation to do it?' " said Bloomberg, whose name has been floated for numerous positions in President Barack Obama's administration, despite his rocky relationship with the commander-in-chief.
Still, don't expect the mayor to make the move to D.C. any time soon.
"Personally, I have an obligation to the people of the city of New York. I asked for cuatro años mas," he said, adding he's got 642 days to go before he leaves City Hall.
During the speech, Bloomberg rejected the idea that the country is more ready today than at any other time in recent history for an independent candidate to mount a serious run.
"I don’t believe that," the mayor said bluntly.
"I think party loyalty gives the two major candidates such a leg up that in spite of the fact that a lot of people say, ‘I’m no longer affiliated,’ they fundamentally will vote with one of the two major candidates because they prefer the second choice to the third choice," he said. "This country is structured as a two-party system, and that’s not going to change.”
Bloomberg also had harsh words for legislators who have advocated punishing the banking industry for its role in the economic crash, accusing them of "killing the financial industry."
"I don’t know why anybody would go out and want to make loans when, if the loans go bad, people want to put the lenders in jail," he said, referring to the current reluctance in the lending industry.
"We’re out there killing the financial industry. And yet, the financial industry is what we need for people to create the jobs."