And for Mr. Bloomberg, the meeting ended up as a rare opportunity to keep his wallet shut.
Just as developments in the real presidential race threaten to overshadow Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s status as the $1 billion question mark hovering over the contest, comes this: a showy breakfast meeting with Senator Barack Obama at a midtown coffee shop earlier today.
The meeting came at Mr. Bloomberg’s request, aides in both camps said, and is part of the mayor’s desire to influence the national debate on issues he deems important, said his press secretary, Stu Loeser. So the two chatted about education and the debate over high-stakes testing; making homeland security funding based on threat; the state of the economy and global warming.
“We talked about the things that I really feel very strongly about that Washington can make a difference whether you’re president of the United States or a senator,” Mr. Bloomberg said on his weekly call-in radio show on WABC.
The Associated Press reported that the bill for breakfast – eggs, toast and bacon – came out to $17.34. Mr. Obama, the non-billionaire of the bunch, picked up the tab and left a generous $10 tip, according to their waitress, Judith Perez. (Photo: Diane Bondareff/Associated Press)
Mr. Bloomberg, who has met with many of the other declared candidates, first met Mr. Obama when the mayor testified before the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, aides said. At the New York Luncheonette on East 50th Street, Mr. Obama ate eggs over easy and wheat toast, while the mayor had scrambled eggs and white toast. For Mr. Obama, according to a senior aide, the meeting was a chance to share the common theme of believing that there is too much game playing in Washington and not enough problem solving, rather than, say, auditioning a potential running mate.
“I’m not sure that’s the relationship we had in mind,” Mr. Obama’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said laughing.
“The eggs were great and he picked up the tab,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “It was great.”