'No Labels' US political group holds first meeting

Democrats, Republicans and independents helped launch a new brand of politics, as Katty Kay reports

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A coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents from around the US has created a new group in the hopes of reducing political partisanship.

About 1,000 people joined the group, called No Labels, in New York for its first meeting at Columbia University.

Independent New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia were among those who attended the event.

The group says it hopes to have an impact on the 2012 presidential vote.

The founders of the organisation claim No Labels is not a third political party but rather a home for those in the US who have felt homeless amid the recent growth of both liberal groups and the Tea Party movement.

Republican officials who were defeated in November's mid-term elections, such as Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Delaware Representative Mike Castle, were also in attendance at the inaugural meeting on Monday.

Michael Bloomberg Independent New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped head the group's first meeting

"We're for anybody who's disruptive of the current system," Republican political consultant and No Labels founder Mark McKinnon told the BBC.

"It's highly possible that we'll support moderate progressive candidates in the Republican Party, moderate progressive candidates in the Democratic Party or independent candidates," he said, adding that the group would "support anybody and everybody who's willing to work with the other side".

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan says the main question to consider in regard to No Labels is whether Americans who tell pollsters they want politicians to work together for the common good will back this grouping and turn it into a successful political force.

Mr Bloomberg, who some analysts had previously said was considering running for the US presidency in 2012, ruled himself out as a candidate on NBC television's Meet the Press programme on Sunday.

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