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Howard Wolfson joins the Bloomberg camp

By A. James Memmott

January 27, 2010 at 11:06am

Perhaps the bonus worked.

Politico operative Howard Wolfson, who got a $400,000 bonus for his work as spokesman for New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s successful re-election campaign last year, has taken a new position with the mayor.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg confirmed reports that Wolfson, who was Hillary Rodham Clinton’s spokesman for her 2008 presidential run, will serve as a counselor to the mayor. He will be paid about $200,000 a year, according to reports.

Sources told The New York Times that Wolfson, who begins his job in March, will focus on communications and policy.

Wolfson’s hiring has triggered speculation about a possible Bloomberg run for the presidency in 2012. Bloomberg had toyed with the idea of running in 2008, but eventually chose not to seek election.

A billionaire, Bloomberg was a Democrat until he running for two mayoral terms as a Republican.

After he successfully led the effort to amend the city’s term limit law, Bloomberg ran for a third term last year as an independent against Democrat William C. Thompson Jr.

Bloomberg spent $108 million of his own money on the campaign and won by only 4.6 percent.

Wolfson argued afterwards that the narrow victory was actually a strong showing, given the fact that other Democrats in other races, such as New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine, had lost.

“The mayor bucked the trend and is extraordinarily pleased with the result and the campaign,” Wolfson told the Times.

A native of New York, Wolfson was communications director for Chuck Schumer’s first Senate campaign in 1998 and for Clinton’s Senate campaign in 2000.

He served as a strategist for her 2006 re-election campaign and then was a key adviser in her presidential run.

After the Clinton defeat, Wolfson returned to the Grover Park Group, an agency that advises on public relations and communications. Wolfson then made waves by signing on with Fox News as a commentator.

“It’s a huge audience and it’s important to have a strong progressive voice on the network,” he said at the time.

Wolfson left Fox when he went to work on the Bloomberg campaign. The move surprised observers, as Wolfson had never worked on behalf of candidate who wasn’t a Democrat. In addition, in 2005, Wolfson had called Bloomberg “an out-of-touch billionaire.”

Wolfson blamed that comment on his “evil twin” and said he was backing the mayor because he had made New York City a “better place to live.”

According to the Times, now that he is about to join the Bloomberg administration, Wolfson will leave Grover Park.

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