Inside Move: Giuliani in third-term mode

Gotham mayor to approach Bloomberg, Green, Ferrer

With elections looming in November, Gotham Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday his biggest concern now is preserving “the unity” of the city that he’s reigned over for nearly eight years. He said he will present a proposal to that end to the three mayoral candidates that emerged from this week’s primaries — and issued a veiled threat that he could seek a third term if they didn’t cooperate.

“I’m going to see if we can all agree on an approach that allows us to handle this in the best interest of the city,” he told reporters during a press conference. He wouldn’t elaborate on the plan but said it was designed to make sure the city was secure and everyone was “on the same page.”

Speculation has been brewing for days that Giuliani wants to ride his newfound wave of popularity as “America’s” Mayor into a third term, even though New York has a two-term limit.

“I am open to the idea of doing it. I don’t know yet the right way or the right thing to do,” Giuliani apparently told Dan Rather in an interview to be broadcast Wednesday night on “60 Minutes II.” He said during the press conference that he might ask the state legislature to explore ways that he could seek a third term, but that he’d prefer to “work out a unified approach” with the candidates.

The three men he’ll be approaching are GOP media tycoon Michael Bloomberg and Dems Marc Green and Fernando Ferrer.

Earlier in the race, Giuliani had endorsed Bloomberg, whose $20 million-plus campaign swelled the coffers of New York broadcasters this fall.

Bloomberg crushed an underfunded Herrman Badillo, the only other GOP candidate, in primary elections Tuesday. Dems Marc Green and Fernando Ferrer face a runoff Oct. 11. It was widely assumed that a Democrat would be the next mayor.

That assumption’s changed. The primary itself was overshadowed by speculation that Giuliani wants to stay.

A grateful city and nation, and a gushing David Letterman, have all but canonized Rudy’s for his reassurance, control and humanity in the midst of unprecedented tragedy and chaos. Vanished are the faux pas and PR disasters that made his reign as contentious as it was praised.

Polls say an impressive 40% of Democrats would vote for Giuliani Nov. 6 if it were possible to get his name on the ballot.

Not everyone would support that move, however. As reluctant as New Yorkers are about swapping Giuliani for an unknown just now, a backlash began the moment it seemed he might bend the law to stick around. As one columnist pointed out, “Reconstruction, riots, earthquakes and floods didn’t disrupt the democratic rhythm,” and neither should the current crisis.

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