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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

By Steve Holland and Valerie Volcovici

DES MOINES/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. presidential hopefuls on Sunday offered mixed reviews of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s potential independent White House run, with Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders saying it would add another billionaire like Republican Donald Trump to the field.

With eight days to go until Iowa holds the first nominating contest on the road to the Nov. 8 presidential election, Republican Senator Marco Rubio basked in the glow of an important endorsement from The Des Moines Register, the state’s biggest newspaper.

Bloomberg’s weekend revelation, that he is laying the groundwork for a run that he could launch should Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton falter, sent shock waves rippling through the entire presidential field.

Sanders, a Democratic socialist and Vermont senator who is threatening Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire, told ABC’s This Week program that Bloomberg’s entry into the race would add a second billionaire to the field. Trump, a real estate mogul, is leading the Republican race.

Sanders has railed against “millionaires and billionaires” and the political power they wield throughout his insurgent campaign for the Democratic nomination.

“That is not what, to my view, American democracy is supposed to be about, a contest between billionaires. If that takes place, I am confident that we will win it,” Sanders said.

Many analysts believe a Bloomberg entry into the race could siphon Democratic votes and be another blow to Clinton, a former secretary of state and the wife of former President Bill Clinton.

An independent bid would be a heavy lift for Bloomberg. The last major third-party candidate, Ross Perot, won 18.9 percent of the vote in 1992, which some observers believe enabled Bill Clinton to defeat then-incumbent President George H.W. Bush.

Hillary Clinton, who won the Register‘s endorsement on the Democratic side on Saturday, said she expected to negate Bloomberg’s rationale for running.

“He’s a good friend of mine and I am going to do the best I can that I get the nomination and we’ll go from there,” she told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“The way I read what he said is that if I didn’t get the nomination he would do it… I will relieve him of that,” she said.

Trump noted that he and Bloomberg have differences on the issues of gun control and abortion and that he would love to compete against him. Bloomberg wants more gun control and to preserve a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion.

“I know Michael very well and would love to compete with him. He is very opposite from me on guns and pro-life… I would love to have Michael get in the race… I would love to compete against Michael,” Trump told CNN.

The current mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, was cool to a Bloomberg run on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I don’t think the people of the country want to give more money to billionaires at this point… I don’t think most Americans think billionaires are the ones who are going to help give us a more fair economy,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Julia Edwards in Washington; Editing by Paul Simao)

Photo: File photo of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking during a news conference at City Hall in New York, September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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7 responses to “Bloomberg’s Possible Entry Into 2016 Race Gets Mixed Reception”

  1. Elliot J. Stamler says:

    First, full disclosure: I am a staunch NYC Democrat; I voted against Bloomberg all three times he ran; I think for myself; I think my city has had very few truly good mayors and Bloomberg distinctly was NOT one of them.
    That written, Bloomberg, as his good friend, former Gov. Rendell of PA has said will not run if around March l (the deadline) it appears that Hillary has a quite good shot at securing the Democratic nomination. But if by then she is faltering in a big way, Bloomberg might well run as he is appalled by Trump and Sanders. As am I – although I respect Sen. Sanders. In a nutshell the problem is that Bloomberg shares SOME (certainly not all) of Trump’s very undesirable characteristics..he is ruthless about spending his money for his own purposes, he is utterly self-confident to the point of arrogance, he believes he is the smartest person around on most everything, he has NO EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT or interest in ordinary people and their real day-to-day problems.
    I would not like to see Michael Bloomberg as president but if the choice came down to him, Sanders or Trump (or Cruz), he would easily be the best.

    • Ladyred497 says:

      Just curious, why do you not feel Bernie would make a great president? Have you looked at his written policies? Economists have said his economic plans look solid and are optimistic about them. He has NEVER said he would raise taxes to 90% as some have lied about. He is not a communist as others try to claim. He believes in the American people getting what they pay taxes for. He really cares about the people. I do not agree with all Bernies policies, but I agree with more of them than anyone elses. Take a look at them on feelthebern.org you might change your mind if you keep it open.

  2. bobnstuff says:

    If you want a businessman as president then Bloomberg is far better a businessman then Trump. He is self made, unlike Trump, He is five times richer then Trump and can self finance his campaign, unlike Trump who says he will but couldn’t really because his money is tied up in real a state and there for not really spendable. Am I a big Bloomberg supporter, no but if give the choice between Trump and Bloomberg, Bloomberg wins hands down.

  3. I of John says:

    Bloomberg would steal from the middle GOP and maybe some conservative dems but not many.

  4. 788eddie says:

    Mike Bloomberg is in many ways a conservative Businessman. However, the GOP, in the end, would not support him; his support for common-sense gun controls, and support for womens health issues are an anathema to them.

  5. mossycoves says:

    A BLOOMBERG Presidency? He would have the nation limited to set food items, quantities and sizes …..and creep int other limitations as set forth by Big Government. Government Knows Best Philosophy!

  6. Otto Greif says:

    Even by liberal standards this guy is a huge hypocrite.

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