Sen. Amy Klobuchar torched former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg over his political calculus in potentially jumping into the 2020 race, ripping the multi-billionaire for thinking he could “waltz in” in the thick of the campaign and declare the rest of the field insufficient.
News that Bloomberg might backtrack on his decision earlier this year not to jump into the race broke late last week, with the former mayor citing his concerns about the current field being unable to defeat President Donald Trump in the general election next year. Bloomberg on Friday filed to get on the primary ballot in Alabama, though aides for the former mayor told POLITICO he had still not made a final decision about whether to run.
But Klobuchar, one of several candidates in the crowded moderate lane of the race that Bloomberg would also occupy, asserted that being displeased with the current crop of contenders was not a good enough reason on its own to join the fray.
“I certainly welcome Mayor Bloomberg to the race. He’s done incredible work on gun safety, on environmental issues. And it is work of merit,” Klobuchar said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But I don’t think you just waltz in and say, instead of ‘I’m good enough to be president,’ your argument is the other people aren’t good enough — that is not how we’ve been conducting these debates.”
Bloomberg’s reconsideration has widely been viewed as an indictment of former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign, as Biden has struggled to maintain his front-runner status in face of challenges from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Meanwhile, the centrists in the race have struggled to gain much traction. One aide to Bloomberg cautioned this week that his potential reversal has nothing to do with any one candidate.
Klobuchar categorically rejected Bloomberg’s political calculus Sunday, declaring that the mayor’s analysis of the race was “ very incorrect.”
She also joined the chorus of her fellow Democratic rivals who have suggested that Bloomberg, by being able to sink his personal fortune into the race and not be dependent on donations in the way his rivals are, would essentially be buying himself an election. Those accusations have hounded Tom Steyer, also a billionaire, in the race.
As evidence, she pointed to the parallels between Bloomberg’s potential candidacy and Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump self-funded much of his primary run.
“When people look at the White House and see this multi-millionaire, — including, by the way, independents and moderate Republicans — and now he’s messing up so many things, I don’t think they say, ‘Oh, we need someone richer,’” Klobuchar contended. “I think you have to earn votes and not buy them.”
Moreover, she suggested Bloomberg’s line of thinking was out of line with the Democratic electorate. “I have seen a lot of excitement about all of our candidates,” she said, an assertion backed up by polling throughout the 2020 cycle.
A slew of polls have shown voters in the party prioritize nominating a candidate who can defeat Trump over one that necessarily sees eye to eye with them on policy. Klobuchar claimed those conversations were already taking place within the current field, reiterating her stance that as a Midwestern senator, she has the best chance of building a bipartisan coalition of voters.
“I’m looking forward to debating Mayor Bloomberg about that, but not if he comes in to say the rest of the field is not good enough,” she said.
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