Bernie Sanders: Bloomberg ‘Doesn’t Have the Right to Buy This Election’

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 Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is one of many Democrats running for his party's presidential nomination. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is one of many Democrats running for his party’s presidential nomination. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

( – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told a CNN town hall Tuesday night that he is offended by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg using his wealth to “buy this election,” and he’s also offended by Bloomberg’s record on race.

Host Anderson Cooper asked Sanders if he sees Bloomberg as “the biggest threat” to Sanders winning the Democrat presidential nomination:

“Anderson, I’m not much into political speculation,” Sanders replied.

I don’t know what’s going to happen here in Nevada. I don’t know what’s going to happen on Super Tuesday. I don’t know, you know, who’s going to win and who’s going to lose. But this is what I do know. And this I feel very strongly about.

You know, Mr. Bloomberg has every right in the world to run for president of the United States. He’s an American citizen. But don’t think he has the right to buy this election. (The audience applauded.)

You know, we pride ourselves on being the longest-standing democracy in the world. And we’re proud of that. To me, what that means, one person, one vote.

You want to run for president, you run for president. You’ve got good ideas, maybe you win, maybe you don’t win. But I do think it’s a bit obscene that we have somebody who, by the way, chose not to contest in Iowa, in Nevada, in South Carolina, in New Hampshire, where all of the candidates — we did town meetings, we’re talking to thousands and thousands of people, working hard.

He said, I don’t have to do that. I’m worth $60 billion. I have more wealth than the bottom 125 million Americans. I’ll buy the presidency. That offends me very much. (More applause.)

Sanders said he also objects to Bloomberg’s record, which is expected to be a topic at Wednesday’s night’s primary debate:

And there are a number of things about his record that I think the American people may not know. As the mayor of the New York City, he was very aggressive in pushing so-called stop and frisk.

And what that meant, and it was very clear — no hiding this — that if you were black, if you are a Latino man, and you walk down the street, the police have the right to grab you for no reason, throw you up against the wall, search you. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of African-Americans and Latinos in New York City underwent that.

And then, finally, after he left and Bill de Blasio became mayor, they did away with stop and frisk, and you know what? Crime rate continued to go down. So his policies humiliated and offended hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people and I think that is something that is worthy of discussion.

An audience member asked Bloomberg if he would accept money from billionaires, including Bloomberg, if he wins the presidential nomination.

It took Sanders a while to answer, and he did so only with prodding from Anderson Cooper.

First, Sanders explained how he raises money in small donations from grassroots supporters, unlike Bloomberg. He also said he would support the Democrat nominee, whoever it turns out to be:

“Well, what I did say is that if Mr. Bloomberg wins, and I certainly hope he does not, I will support the Democratic nominee. As of now, we have not taken — we don’t have a super pac, we’re not asking for a super pac. That is my position right now,” Sanders said.

“So you’re not sure if you would take the money or not?” Anderson Cooper followed up. “Okay, I’ll leave it there.”

Sanders responded:

I don’t think we’re going to need that money, because interestingly enough, I think when you have an agenda, as we have, that speaks to the needs of working families, you’re going to have millions and millions and millions of people chipping in ten bucks a piece, 50 bucks a piece, and that’s how you’re going to raise the money you need to defeat Trump.

Now, Trump may end up, because he has billionaire friends all over the place who are pouring huge amounts of money into his campaign, he may end up having more money, but there is a point in which money ceases to be significant.

We will have enough money to run a strong campaign; we will have enough money to defeat Donald Trump.


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