Report: Social issues keeping Bloomberg from backing Romney

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) is unlikely to endorse in the upcoming presidential election, after telling multiple guests at a dinner party that while he believes Mitt Romney would be better at running the country, he disagrees too vehemently on social issues with the Republican nominee.

Bloomberg made the comments at a charity event last week, according to a report in The New York Times. At least three people at the star-studded affair overheard portions of his discussion, the paper reports.

The mayor's primary objections to Romney were apparently over the issues of abortion rights and gun control.

Both Romney and President Obama have quietly courted the New York City mayor in recent months, seeing his political independence — and substantial wealth — as a valuable asset.

Romney had a private breakfast with Bloomberg at the headquarters of the billionaire mayor's philanthropic foundation during a campaign swing through the city last month. Romney's campaign did not inform the press that the meeting would occur, although it later confirmed that the men had met. According to the Times, the pair discussed the economy, immigration, education and gun control over coffee and juice.

A week prior, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, traveled to Manhattan to lobby Bloomberg on Romney's behalf.

"I just came in to pay my respects to the mayor. He and I are old friends from many years back,” McCain said, according to the New York Post. “I told him that I just spent last weekend with Romney and I thought that Romney was on message ... and tried to convince the mayor that we’ve got a winning campaign.”

In that same week, Bloomberg played separate rounds of golf with both Vice President Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The mayor was also a guest at a White House lunch with Obama earlier this year.

Bloomberg opted not to endorse in the 2008 election, but New York media sources have widely reported that he was considering weighing in this year. 

The mayor was said to be considering his own presidential run earlier in the campaign cycle, but ultimately opted against what would be a difficult third-party bid for the White House.

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