"Credit where it's due: Bloomberg wisely decides not to be 2016's Perot and hand the presidency to Trump or Cruz," freelance journalist Gregg Carlstrom summarizes Michael Bloomberg's official declaration of the risk he will not take -- namely, running for president right now (at 25,000+ shares). "This Bloomberg announcement is a de-facto endorsement of Hillary Clinton," argues Business Insider's Josh Barro. "The great irony is that the reason people want Bloomberg to run (rational, data-driven) is the exact reason he's not," observes Fortune's Robert Hackett. Not everyone was swooning, obviously. "When I get lonely, I also write Op-Eds on why I'm not running for president," snarks freelancer Adam Wisnieski. Or as stand-up comic/journo hybrid Lindsay Goldwert puts it even less flatteringly, "Short, nasal media tycoon loathed by minorities and a person of non-interest to non-New Yorkers will not run." But if you're feeling blue you've been denied the pleasure of the race-that-might-have-been, we have a consolation prize for you. "So thankful that the aborted Bloomberg campaign released an ad anyway so we wouldn't have to just imagine the horror," grumps Max Rivlin Nadler.
Bloomberg isn't the only one panicking: top conservatives recently gathered on a private island to plot an eleventh-hour maneuver to stump Trump’s growing lead in the delegate race. "You can't make this stuff up. Tim Cook, Larry Page and Karl Rove unite to stop Trump," points out Julia Love with Reuters. So it looks like GOP elites are hoping for a contested convention. "The best case scenario for the establishment is to keep Donald Trump 36 delegates short of the 1,237 he needs. Wow," reacts The Fix's Chris Cillizza. "It's fairly amazing how openly the GOP establishment is at war with a large chunk of its members," chimes in colleague Philip Bump. Onetime nominee Mitt Romney even recorded get-out-the-vote robo calls for Marco Rubio’s campaign, even as rumors swirl of Rubio's advisors pushing the Florida senator to get out before his home state’s primary for the good of his longterm career. "If story's true, all top Rubio advisers/inner circle I've spoken to (which is not all), have lied 2 me for weeks," concludes Marc Caputo at the Miami Herald. But while all that is going on, Trump himself appears to be orchestrating a crackdown on protesters at his rallies. Did we mention that includes taking an oath to vote for him? At BuzzFeed, John Stanton envisions how this conversation goes in the candidate's head: "'Donald, you're acting like a fascist lunatic.' - the entire civilized world. 'I'll show you' - Trump whispers."
Elsewhere in controversy, Maria Sharapova dropped the bombshell late yesterday that she had been provisionally banned by the International Tennis Federation after testing positive for a newly forbidden substance (the day she lost to Serena Williams at the Australia Open, incidentally). The recently banned meldonium was found in Sharapova's system, but the megastar claims she didn’t realize she was breaking the rules because she overlooked the email announcing the drug’s addition to the banned list; Sharapova said a doctor put her on the drug in 2006 for health issues. "Sharapova's excuse for failing a drug test is that she didn't read the email -- plausible!" responds NYT's Farhad Manjoo. In any case, her admission surprised plenty of journalists, who originally guessed she had called the press conference to announce her retirement, to which Sharapova responded, “if I was ever going to announce my retirement, it would probably not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet.” Noted! Next time we'll take closer look at the decor and deduce accordingly.
So Monday didn't turn into "Retirement Day," after all -- although Peyton Manning's retirement presser did inspire nasty attacks on the one female reporter who dared to mar the festive occasion with a pesky question about his past sexual harassment allegations. "Kudos to the non-fawning sports journalist," applauds John D'Anna. There was a fresh NFL retirement today, however: that of the Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson. At WHNN-FM and WIOG-FM, Hal Maas bills it as "Megatron makes his move."