Michael Bloomberg announced Sunday he is running for president, bringing a narrow following but boundless bank account to the crowded Democratic primary.
The 77-year-old former New York City mayor, positioning himself as a centrist alternative to Joe Biden, launched his candidacy in an online video that is part personal story, part attack on President Donald Trump.
“I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America. We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions. He represents an existential threat to our country and our values,” Bloomberg declared in a statement Sunday. “If he wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage.”
Bloomberg became one of the richest people in the world on the success of his eponymous financial news company. He then served three terms as New York City mayor and in 2014 was honorarily knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
The video accompanying his announcement, part of an initial $34 million ad buy, instead seeks to play up his middle-class upbringing in Medford, Mass. The narrator notes he “had to work his way through college” and built his business, Bloomberg LP, from “a single room to a global entity.”
The ad, produced by Jimmy Siegel, is meant to contrast the financial identities of Bloomberg and Trump, both wealthy men with swank Manhattan addresses. As it closes in on a shot of Trump Tower, the narrator references a country “where the wealthy will pay more in taxes and the struggling middle class will get their fair share.” It is an implicit criticism of the president, who is battling the release of his tax returns a year after a New York Times investigation concluded he dodged taxes to increase his inherited fortune.
Bloomberg routinely made his tax returns public when he was mayor. A spokesperson said he would make his returns public now that he is seeking the presidency.
The former mayor, who is worth an estimated $54.1 billion, plans to forgo competing in early voting states and instead focus his resources on Super Tuesday, when 15 states head to the polls March 3. His aides believe the strategy will help him lay claim to delegate-rich territory that has been somewhat overlooked as the top-tier candidates focus their energies in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
They say their polling also showed Trump dominating in six swing states where they believe Bloomberg can perform well: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
It is also a signal that Team Bloomberg is worried he wouldn’t do well in the first four states. Polls conducted after he registered to get on the ballot in Alabama Nov. 8 show paltry support for his candidacy in Iowa and New Hampshire.
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SOURCE: Politico, Sally Goldenberg