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CNBC's Schacknow: What Not to Air (Bloomberg's 'Big' Announcement)

Being Like Mike
Sometimes scheduled news events hold a great deal of promise -- and just as often, they don’t deliver.

After New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg dropped his affiliation with the Republican Party Tuesday and switched to independent status, the speculation began that this was merely a prelude to a presidential run. And you knew -- you just knew -- that reporters would be asking him questions about this, during a midday Wednesday news conference on an unrelated topic.

With that in mind, we carefully monitored the news conference, with our fingers on the trigger ready to take it live if someone “popped the question.” Amazingly enough, the first three or four questions were actually about the topic of the news conference: the city’s popular 311 help line.

When the inevitable question finally came, Mayor Bloomberg -- for lack of a better term -- blew it off, saying the question was off-topic.

Several more attempts followed, and finally he said he was not a candidate for president and intended to serve as mayor through the end of his term, as scheduled.

You didn’t hear that live on CNBC -- although you did see it in an onscreen “deko alert,” and on tape a few minutes later. With the mayor routinely giving terse answers to presidential questions and then returning to the topic at hand, we made the decision to abandon plans for live coverage. In retrospect, it was the right one: We got the relevant information out, and spared viewers a half-hour or so about non-related issues.

It would have been very exciting to be live on the air and have the mayor announce his candidacy as president, but it didn’t happen. But we can always hope for next time.