NEW YORK (CNN) – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would not rule out a presidential run in 2008 Monday, amid mounting reports that his aides have been gathering research on whether he can win.
Bloomberg tried to deflect the question Monday, pointing out that he was not currently an official presidential contender. "I've said this before. You would think that people would get tired of the answer. I'm not a candidate for President of the United States,” Bloomberg told reporters at an event at Harlem Renaissance High School.
But he would not say he was not planning a run.
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that Bloomberg is paying for heavy polling and voter analysis in every state.
A source close to Bloomberg told CNN last week that data assessing Bloomberg’s chances had been collected, but not yet analyzed, and that the mayor might make his decision on a presidential run by early March.
Asked Monday why he has been collecting data from national polls, he responded, "I didn't say I was collecting the polling research. You just said that."
When pressed on the question, Bloomberg grew agitated, though he did not deny the reports. "Miss, no matter how many times you ask the question, I'm not a candidate. That's the answer. I can't go into nitpicking. This is ridiculous."
Last week Gerald Rafshoon, a former media adviser to President Carter, and Doug Bailey, a former consultant to moderate Republicans, quit Unity08, a group dedicated to electing an independent presidential candidate.
The move came amid reports the two planned to announce the creation of a “Draft Bloomberg” committee sometime this week.
Next month, Bloomberg pollster and close adviser Doug Schoen will be publishing his new book, on how an independent candidate can win the presidency.
–CNN Radio Correspondent Steve Kastenbaum