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Bloomberg will decide on White House bid by early March

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  • New York mayor has launched research effort into his chances, source says
  • Bloomberg has set early March as deadline for making a decision, source says
  • Bloomberg: "Government is dysfunctional. There is no collaboration."
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will decide by early March whether he will pursue an independent bid for the White House, a source close to the mayor told CNN.

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Michael Bloomberg is researching an independent presidential run, a source says.

The source, who is very familiar with the mayor's deliberations, said Bloomberg is assessing his chances in a potential bid for the presidency.

The source said the mayor -- who has been widely speculated as being interested in running for the White House as an independent -- has had data collected but hasn't started to analyze it yet.

CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider said it's possible a centrist candidate would have a chance in the 2008 presidential race.

"There's a market for someone who can bring the left and the right together, Democrats and Republicans, and form a workable governing coalition," Schneider said, "but it's going to be there only if the parties nominate candidates who can't reach to the center."Video Watch Schneider explain how Bloomberg could shake up the race »

Schneidner said it made sense for Bloomberg to wait until "Super Tuesday," February 5, when nearly a dozen states will hold either primaries or caucuses. The nominees for both parties will probably be clear after those results, political pundits say.

"If the Democrats nominate Barack Obama, who has a lot of appeal to Republicans, and the Republicans nominate, say, John McCain, who in the past has appealed for Democrats, there's no room for Bloomberg, and he probably should hang it up," he said.

A Newsweek poll conducted October 31-November 1 placed support for Bloomberg at 11 percent when matched up in a general election with Sen. Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee, who received the support of 44 percent, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as the Republican nominee, who received 38 percent.

When Obama was the Democratic nominee, the results changed little, with Bloomberg at 10 percent, Barack Obama at 43 percent and Giuliani at 39 percent.

Bloomberg, a former Democrat who was elected to the mayor's office as a Republican, joined a panel of moderate current and former lawmakers earlier this week at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

The group, made up of Democrats and Republicans, called for bipartisanship in government.

"What has changed is that people have stopped working together," Bloomberg said at the Monday gathering. "Government is dysfunctional. There is no collaboration and congeniality. There is no working together and 'Let's do what's right for the country.' There is no accountability today ... no willingness to focus on big ideas."

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Bloomberg, 65, was elected mayor of New York in 2001, two months after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, and re-elected in 2005.

A native of Medford, Massachusetts, with an MBA from Harvard Business School, Bloomberg became a billionaire, first working with Wall Street securities bank Salomon Brothers, then as founder of Bloomberg LP, a financial news and information service. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's John King contributed to this report.

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