Bloomberg, Rendell to appear in LA

January 16, 2008 7:22:32 PM PST
In a move sure to rekindle speculation that he has higher political ambitions, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has agreed to make a public appearance with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Los Angeles on Saturday, Rendell's spokesman confirmed.

Democrat Rendell plans to join Bloomberg, an independent who is weighing a possible third-party bid for the White House, and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, to discuss issues involving the public infrastructure. The location had not been made public Wednesday night.

Rendell's spokesman, Chuck Ardo, dismissed as "much ado about nothing" speculation that Rendell's participation signals his interest in becoming Bloomberg's prospective running mate. Rendell, a former two-term Philadelphia mayor, also has rejected that notion in the past.

"This has got to do with two governors' and (a) mayor's' concerns about infrastructure," Ardo said.

Bloomberg, 65, a billionaire who has previously been both a Republican and a Democrat, has been quietly polling and analyzing voting trends in every state as he contemplates launching a campaign. On Tuesday, his supporters launched a 50-state petition drive in an attempt to "draft" him into the race.

Rendell, 64, a prodigious fundraiser and former general chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is a political maverick who delivered most of his ambitious first-term agenda by building coalitions in a Legislature controlled by Republicans. He is in his second year of his second four-year term.

On Friday, Bloomberg is scheduled to appear in Austin, Texas, with Lance Armstrong and former surgeon general Richard Carmona, according to a schedule released by Bloomberg's office. Rendell was not scheduled to join them.

"I believe the governor is going to LA and then coming right back," Ardo said.