Sen. Elizabeth Warren took her criticism of Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign to a new locale this week: Bloomberg TV.
In an interview Wednesday evening on Bloomberg’s own news network, Warren accused the Medford-bred billionaire and former New York City mayor of trying to buy the presidency in the wake of his self-funded campaign’s unprecedented spending on ads.
“What’s broken in America is we’ve got a country that is working great for those at the top, an economy that’s working great for those at the top, and a democracy that is working great for those at the top,” the Massachusetts senator told Bloomberg TV host Joe Weisenthal.
— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) December 5, 2019
“It’s just not working much for anyone else,” she added. “And that’s why I’m so concerned about Michael Bloomberg jumping into this race, dropping $37 million in one week on ad buys. I don’t believe that elections ought to be for sale, and I don’t think as a Democratic Party that we should say that the only way you’re gonna get elected, the only way you’re gonna be our nominee, is either if you are a billionaire, or if you’re sucking up to billionaires.”
Warren’s presidential campaign also took out its own ad Wednesday on Bloomberg TV, which portrayed her on the campaign trail taking aim at the billionaire critics of her proposed wealth tax on fortunes over $50 million. That ad includes Bloomberg, who is shown in the ad as Warren derides billionaires who “call their billionaire friends and urge them to run for president,” an apparent reference to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who reportedly asked Bloomberg to run for president earlier this year.
CBS News reported Wednesday that the 30-second ad was slated to run a single time in the New York media market and only on Bloomberg TV. Warren tweeted that it was intended to show that she is “not backing down from this fight.”
I guess some billionaires figured it'd be a lot cheaper to spend a few hundred million to buy the American presidency than paying their fair share in a #WealthTax so that everyone can succeed. I put an ad on Bloomberg TV to let them know—I'm not backing down from this fight. pic.twitter.com/cULpOZYKoh
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) December 4, 2019
So far, not backing down from public fights with her powerful opponents has been a theme of Warren’s campaign. And her criticism of Bloomberg on Bloomberg TV this week was hardly the first time she’s taken those fights to her critics’ home turf.
Last month, Warren’s campaign took out a similar ad calling for a wealth tax on CNBC after several businessmen who would be affected by the proposal appeared on the cable news network to rip the Cambridge Democrat’s populist campaign. Warren also put up a billboard in May promoting her plan to break up the biggest tech companies in the heart of Silicon Valley. She has also run Facebook ads challenging the social media platform’s policies and calling for the company to be broken up.
Bloomberg’s campaign has rejected the notion — shared by Warren, as well as other Democratic presidential candidates — that he is using his personal wealth to buy the election.
“He’s fortunate enough to have the resources to launch a full-blooded national campaign out of the gates that will bring this battle to Donald Trump’s doorstep,” Bloomberg campaign advisor Timothy O’Brien told a CBS affiliate station in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. “I don’t think this, about the presidency for sale. If that was all this was about, you wouldn’t have someone like Mike Bloomberg deeply committed to addressing things like economic inequality.”
Warren has otherwise worked to avoid attacking fellow Democrats primary candidates, but is taking an aggressive against Bloomberg in the opening weeks of his late entrance into the 2020 presidential race as part of her larger argument that the United States government was been unduly influenced by wealthy interests. In her interview Wednesday, she argued the upcoming election was a rare chance to take a different course.
“We got this chance in 2020 where the door has opened this much where we could make the kind of change that makes our economy and our democracy work for everyone,” Warren told Bloomberg TV. “I want to see us take that chance.”