Bloomberg Trying Out the Prez Pitch in DC?

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in DC yesterday, reasserting his support for gay marriage and sounding much like someone considering an election bid.

He spoke today to nearly seven-thousand George Washington University graduates and their families and friends on the Mall in Washington DC, extolling the virtues of political independence as the key to a bipartisan-bickering-free future.  While his jokes occasionally fell flat (University President Steven Knapp has a sheep farm, "Not that I'm saying President Knapp is full of sheep!") Bloomberg mostly seemed warmly received, even as he launched into inevitable parables about 9/11 and coming together as a nation. 

The speech was heavily peppered with esoteric GWU references about hotdog vendors and in-jokes about bars and mascots, but also with plugs for the Independent party. No party, said the mayor, has a monopoly on good ideas. "You can be a Democrat or a Republican," Bloomberg said, "I've been both."

GWU students, having suffered a bit of national criticism for televised images of drunk sorority girls yelling "USA!" in front of the White House following the news of Osama bin Laden's death, didn't rise to the bait a second time. As Bloomberg made the questionable statement "Today Osama bin Laden is dead and New York has never been safer!", the crowd hesitated, then broke into restrained applause.

"Take risks!" exhorted the three-term mayor, who has denied the possibility of a 2012 presidential bid.  "Tomorrow the work begins."