Tag Archives: Michael

Why is Michael Bloomberg silencing the press? Because it's his plaything

Why is Michael Bloomberg silencing the press? Because it's his playthingIn choosing to launch a presidential campaign for no reasons other than ego and greed, he has subjugated a respected news organization to his whimsAmong the many socially damaging things about the existence of billionaires is the fact that the ego of a single person with billions of dollars can exert more influence than the collective wisdom of thousands of professionals under their economic control. All the experts might say that the kingdom should focus on food and shelter for the people, but if the pharaoh wants a pyramid instead, well, everyone is getting the pyramid. There is no better demonstration of this farce than the sad fate of Bloomberg News, a global media organization that has the unfortunate distinction of also being a billionaire’s plaything.Michael Bloomberg, who is worth more than $ 50bn, is running for president. He will not win. Still, his candidacy is unsurprising. A cadre of political consultants who will get rich if he runs have urged him to run, and a potential wealth tax under President Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders would cost him a much greater portion of his fortune than the relatively small sliver he’ll spend on his doomed campaign. If nothing else, he hopes to be able to pull the scary socialist discourse back in the direction of the more capital-friendly wing of the Democratic party. Fine. Let the rich man have his fun. Perhaps a few weeks being forced to kiss pigs in middle American farm stalls will do his shriveled soul some good.But there is the small matter of that global media organization that the now-candidate owns. Bloomberg News boasts 2,700 editorial staffers around the world, churning out not just excellent coverage of the financial markets, but a broad range of news and opinion about everything. Including, of course, the US presidential race. In theory, this should not be a problem – every reputable journalistic outlet in the world adheres to the principle of editorial independence, meaning that the newsroom operates without any editorial meddling by the owner. (It is equally true that media outlets generally reflect the broad philosophical beliefs of their owners, which is why there is little reporting from a Marxist perspective at Bloomberg News. Still, this fact of life does not need to interfere with the normal business of day-to-day ethical reporting about the world.)So the proper response to the boss running for president should be: whatever. We are still reporters, and we will still report. Every true reporter would relish the chance to stick the journalistic knife in the boss, I assure you. It would be easy for the editors of Bloomberg News to set loose their investigative reporters on Michael Bloomberg’s financial and political empire, planting a flag for independent journalism and educating readers at the same time. Instead, however, Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief, John Micklethwait, covered himself in disgrace by decreeing that the editorial board would be suspended (no great loss) and that: “We will continue our tradition of not investigating Mike … and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries.” Somehow, Micklethwait managed to create a cowering editorial policy that is not only implicitly distrustful of his own reporters’ professionalism, but explicitly biased in the way that investigative journalism is apportioned between the two political parties.Reputable political journalists, including former Bloomberg staffers, were disgusted by this policy. But let us not put all the blame on the middle managers. The true boss of Bloomberg News is Michael Bloomberg himself. In choosing to launch a presidential campaign for no plausible reasons other than ego and greed, he also chose to subjugate a respected organization of 2,700 news professionals to the interests of … Michael Bloomberg’s ego and greed.A noble plutocrat would at least try to allow his reporters to do their jobs, thereby gesturing towards a belief in the value of truth. A vain plutocrat like Bloomberg has instead placed his reporters in such a compromised position that Donald Trump’s characteristically asinine declaration that Bloomberg journalists will be banned from his campaign events and rallies is actually defensible – after all, it is impossible to argue that a media outlet with a formal policy of “We will investigate Donald Trump but never any of his political rivals” does not fit the dictionary definition of “biased”.The stupidest possible narrative that could emerge from this desperate presidential campaign season – and it will emerge, I promise you – is a “battle of the billionaires”, in which the role of voters is merely to choose a super rich superman to worship, and political parties are reduced to mere stages for two extremely wealthy guys with slightly different varieties of arrogant personalities.Thankfully the billionaires in the Democratic primary will all lose, and with any luck they will be so damaged by aggressive investigative reporting that they will shrink away from ever trying again. None of that reporting will come from Bloomberg News. If they really want to cover Trump rallies though, I can tell them from personal experience that they don’t need a press pass. They can just walk right in with the regular folks. There’s always plenty of room. As usual, Donald Trump’s sneering proclamations are more sound than fury, meant only to soothe the man-baby’s rage until his attention flits to the next topic. In this case, the billionaire who’s really screwing the free press is named Michael Bloomberg. * Hamilton Nolan is a writer based in New York



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Elizabeth Warren Accuses Michael Bloomberg of 'Buying the Election'

Elizabeth Warren Accuses Michael Bloomberg of 'Buying the Election'(Bloomberg) — Elizabeth Warren accused former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg of trying to buy the 2020 election with millions of dollars in advertising to fuel his late entry into the Democratic race.Warren delivered her message in an interview on Bloomberg Television from the company’s headquarters in New York City.“I don’t believe that elections ought to be for sale,” Warren said. “And I don’t think as a Democratic Party that we should say that the only way you’re going to get elected, the only way you’re going to be our nominee, is either if you are a billionaire or if you’re sucking up to billionaires.”Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.Ahead of the interview, she bought an ad to air on Bloomberg TV that took on the company’s owner directly, accusing him of trying to buy the election to avoid paying higher taxes. Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg have raised money from Wall Street and Silicon Valley donors at posh fundraisers. Warren has eschewed such events in favor of small, mostly online donations.The ad portrayed Warren campaigning in Iowa telling a cheering crowd, “It’s a lot cheaper to spend a few hundred mil just buying the presidency instead of paying the two-cent wealth tax.” The ad featured visuals of Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman, with whom she has sparred.Bloomberg has spent $ 59 million so far in ad time for his campaign, focusing on the Super Tuesday states such as California, Texas and North Carolina, instead of the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire.Tim O’Brien, a senior adviser to the Bloomberg campaign, said the former New York mayor was not buying the presidency, according to KDKA, a CBS station in Pittsburgh.“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.”On other topics, Warren said:Warren insisted she was a “capitalist” but said the U.S. economy worked better for the rich and big corporations. Her solution is her 2% wealth tax on assets over $ 50 million, which says is ultimately about how the U.S. ought to allocate the cost of making the country work and investing in the middle and working class.She reiterated that her costly plans would not exacerbate the U.S. deficit because the rich and the big corporations would pay for the spending increases.Warren said President Donald Trump was destroying markets and America’s value around the world with his trade actions. Warren promised “a coherent plan for anybody who wants access to American markets.” She supported putting diplomatic and economic pressure on China.(Updates to add Warren’s other comments after ninth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou in Washington at megkolfopoul@bloomberg.net;Joe Weisenthal in New York at jweisenthal@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Bernie Sanders laughs at idea of Jeff Bezos floating Michael Bloomberg's presidential run

Bernie Sanders laughs at idea of Jeff Bezos floating Michael Bloomberg's presidential runBernie Sanders, AOC reacted with laughter at report that Amazon's Jeff Bezos asked Mike Bloomberg if he'd run for president.



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Joe Biden throws down gauntlet to Michael Bloomberg, saying 'I'm pretty far ahead'

Joe Biden throws down gauntlet to Michael Bloomberg, saying 'I'm pretty far ahead'Joe Biden has thrown down the gauntlet to Michael Bloomberg, urging the billionaire to "get in and run" for the Democrat presidential nomination, and vowing to beat him. Mr Bloomberg, 77, the former New York mayor, sent shock waves through the party this week by indicating his intention to stand, partly because of his concerns over frontrunner Mr Biden's stuttering campaign. Many Democrats warned a Bloomberg candidacy risked a split in the party's moderate wing, between the media mogul and Mr Biden, potentially clearing the path for the liberal standard bearer, Elizabeth Warren, to become the nominee. Mr Biden said: "Look, if he [Mr Bloomberg] wants to run, he should just get in and run. Michael’s a solid guy. I have no problem with him being in the race." But he added: “In terms of he’s running because of me, the last polls I looked at, I’m pretty far ahead. If I’m not mistaken, I’m doing pretty well both relative to Trump, and relative to all the people running in the Democratic primary. "Look at all the polls. I’m leading across the board. And, so I don’t quite get this." Joe Biden campaigning in New Hampshire Credit: AFP Mr Bloomberg filed paperwork to get his name on the ballot in Alabama, the state with the first registration deadline, on Friday. He also rang the former Democrat governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, a key powerbroker in the state, which is the first to vote on Feb 3. Following the call Mr Vilsack said: "He is in." He said Mr Bloomberg told him "it was true he is running." Mr Bloomberg's advisers indicated his main motivation was that he believes Mr Trump, his fellow New York businessman, represented an "existential threat" to the United States. He has previously called Mr Trump a "con" and a "dangerous demagogue." Howard Wolfson, an adviser to Mr Bloomberg, told the Washington Post: "He woke up and said 'Oh my God, Donald Trump is going to be re-elected – I better run for president.'" It is believed a trigger for Mr Bloomberg's late move was recent polling showing Mr Trump highly competitive in key swing states against all the current Democrat candidates, including Mr Biden. Those results came despite Mr Trump being in the midst of an impeachment crisis. The president also has a vastly bigger campaign war chest than all the current Democrat hopefuls. But Mr Bloomberg, America's eighth richest man with a fortune of over $ 50 billion, would be able to outspend him. Anthony Scaramucci, Mr Trump's former White House communications director, said there was "no question he [Mr Bloomberg] would be the number one threat" to Mr Trump. Mr Scaramucci said: "I think the president will be very intimidated. He [Mr Bloomberg] is a New Yorker, he can withstand the onslaught of the president's bullying. He's worth probably five to eight times the president's net worth. He can get ads up all over the country to defend himself. "If Mike Bloomberg got the nomination it's very clear to me he would beat Trump." However, Mr Bloomberg faced the possibility of not getting that far, and could succeed only in damaging Mr Biden while emboldening Mrs Warren. Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist, said: "It's lousy for Joe Biden, but great for Elizabeth Warren." His advisers indicated Mr Bloomberg would deploy an unusual election strategy, essentially ignoring the first two states to vote, Iowa on Feb 3 and New Hampshire on Feb 11. Other candidates have already been campaigning there for months. Instead, he would focus on "Super Tuesday" on March 3, when more than a dozen states vote on one day, blanketing them with television adverts.



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Michael Bloomberg’s late entry into the 2020 race is based on a widespread fear among Democrats that Joe Biden’s campaign is in a ‘dire’ place

Michael Bloomberg’s late entry into the 2020 race is based on a widespread fear among Democrats that Joe Biden’s campaign is in a ‘dire’ placeBloomberg's expected entrance into the 2020 race is a clear sign that the billionaire thinks Joe Biden's campaign is on the rocks.



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Michael Bloomberg garners highest Democratic unfavorable rating in new poll

Michael Bloomberg garners highest Democratic unfavorable rating in new pollA new poll released by Morning Consult on Sunday brought some good news and bad news for potential Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, Politico reports. Bloomberg, who filed for the Alabama primary Friday, but has not yet made a final decision about officially launching a campaign, finished in sixth place in the poll at 4 percent, which is not terrible considering he's a newcomer. He was also shown beating President Trump by six percentage points in a hypothetical general election matchup. But 25 percent of those surveyed also said they view the former New York City mayor and billionaire unfavorably. That was the highest unfavorable rating in the poll.His potential Democratic opponents don't seem too high on him entering the race either. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called him out directly during a campaign speech in Iowa on Saturday, while Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) was skeptical of his candidacy during an appearance Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.> Amy Klobuchar on Mike Bloomberg entering the race: "And when people look at this white house and see this multi-millionaire … I don't think they say, oh, we need someone richer. I don't think that, Jake. I think you have to earn votes and not buy them." CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/YvhIn8iTi9> > — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 10, 2019The Morning Consult Poll was conducted on Nov. 8, surveying 5,387 registered voters. The margin of error was one percentage point. Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com The return of honor politics Lindsey Graham is 'confident' the whistleblower is 'from the Deep State' The remarkable life of Elaine Stritch



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DOJ Admits in Michael Flynn Case That FBI ‘Mistakenly Identified’ Peter Strzok Notes

DOJ Admits in Michael Flynn Case That FBI ‘Mistakenly Identified’ Peter Strzok NotesThe attorneys prosecuting former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn were forced to admit in a Tuesday letter to Flynn’s legal defense that the notes which formed the official document describing Flynn’s January 2017 interview were not written by agent Peter Strzok, as they've maintained throughout the case.“We were informed that the notes we had identified as Peter Strzok’s, were actually the other agent’s notes (see Surreply, Exhibit 1), and what we had identified as the other agent’s notes were in fact Strzok’s notes (see Surreply, Exibit 2)” the letter to Flynn’s lawyer Sidney Powell reads.The FBI’s admission calls into further question the credibility of the case and of former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who told the FBI that his partner Joe Pientka was “primarily responsible for taking notes and writing the FD-302.” The case against Flynn, who entered a guilty plea for lying to the FBI in December 2017, centers around the 302 form, which per Bureau protocol, stands in place of a transcript, as the FBI does not record its interviews.In defending Flynn, Powell has argued that Strzok’s supposed notes were too orderly and well constructed to have been taken in the actual interview. Now the letter, coupled with prosecution’s release of notes last week, apparently reveal that Strzok, in fact, took the majority of the notes in the interviewStrzok led the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and was fired from Mueller’s investigative team when text messages disparaging President Trump were discovered between him and FBI colleague Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair.The letter was prompted by Powell’s bombshell allegation that the FBI deliberately manipulated the original 302 document to suggest that Flynn lied about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.“Those changes added an unequivocal statement that ‘Flynn stated he did not’ — in response to whether Mr. Flynn had asked Kislyak to vote in a certain manner or slow down the UN vote [on sanctions],” Powell wrote. “This is a deceptive manipulation because, as the notes of the agents show, Mr. Flynn was not even sure he had spoken to Russia/Kislyak on the issue. He had talked to dozens of countries.”“That question and answer does not appear in the notes, yet it was made into a criminal offense,” Powell argued in the motion. “The draft also shows that the agents moved a sentence to make it seem to be an answer to a question it was not.”Earlier this week, Powell demanded in another court filing that the FBI search its internal “Sentinel Database” to uncover any drafts of the 302 which may show substantial changes, after the government argued that any edits to the document, which was filed over three weeks after the interview, were merely “grammatical and stylistic.”Released text messages between Strzok and Paige show that on February 10, the same day that news broke from “senior intelligence officials” that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyak, Strozk told Paige that he had updated the 302 form to reflect her edits.“I made your edits, and sent them to Joe. I also emailed you an updated 302 . . . hopefully it doesn’t need much more editing. I will polish it this weekend, and have it ready for Monday. I really appreciate your times and edits,” Strzok said.On Tuesday night, Powell told Fox News that the letter all but confirms her argument.“Their entire case depends upon what these two agents said. And now, we’re realizing 18 months later they’re looking at their file and realizing that ‘oh, by the way, we got the names of the two agents crossed on the notes, the notes you thought were Mr. Strzok’s, that we told you were Mr. Strzok’s, are not, they’re the other agent’s, and vice versa,’” Powell said. “It’s appalling. What else have they gotten wrong? We can’t trust anything they say.”



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Michael Bennett Slams Warren’s Medicare for All Plan: The ‘New Numbers are Simply Not Believable’

Michael Bennett Slams Warren’s Medicare for All Plan: The ‘New Numbers are Simply Not Believable’Democratic senator and long shot presidential candidate Michael Bennet panned the new details of Senator Elizabeth Warren's Medicare for All plan on Friday, arguing that the cost estimates she provided simply won't cover the services her plan promises.“Voters are sick and tired of politicians promising them things that they know they can’t deliver," the Colorado senator said in a statement. "Warren's new numbers are simply not believable and have been contradicted by experts. Regardless of whether it's $ 21 trillion or $ 31 trillion, this isn't going to happen, and the American people need health care."Warren on Friday released the cost estimate of her plan, which increases federal spending by $ 21 trillion over the next ten years, a significant increase that is nevertheless cheaper than the $ 31 trillion increase attributed to Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All plan.The plan does not directly tax the middle class but does levy $ 9 trillion in additional taxes on employers over the next decade. The Massachusetts lawmaker argues that the employer tax would simply replace the cost employers currently incur to provide employee health insurance plans.Former Vice President Joe Biden, another 2020 contender, said the plan's nearly $ 9 trillion tax on employers would end up hitting middle class workers hardest as employers would simply pass them along to rank-and-file employees."The mathematical gymnastics in this plan are all geared towards hiding a simple truth from voters: it's impossible to pay for Medicare for All without middle-class tax increases," Biden's deputy communications director Kate Bedingfield said.Former Maryland congressman John Delaney, another long shot Democratic 2020 candidate, dismissed the plan as well, saying Warren's "numbers don't add up," but the "public options" plans more moderate Democrats have proposed are not enough."A 'public option' is a government run insurance company that does not go nearly far enough in addressing the inequality in our healthcare system," Delaney said in a pair of tweets on the issue. "We need universal healthcare; most developed nations have universal healthcare. But Medicare4all is a bad plan, BetterCare works."



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NYC Medical Examiner Dismisses Epstein ‘Homicide’ Claim by Dr. Michael Baden

NYC Medical Examiner Dismisses Epstein ‘Homicide’ Claim by Dr. Michael BadenRobyn Beck/ReutersNew York City’s chief medical examiner pushed back hard Wednesday against a celebrity pathologist-for-hire’s conspiracy-stirring claim that Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy was more consistent with homicide than suicide.“The original medical investigation was thorough and complete. There is no reason for a second medical investigation by our office,” said Dr. Barbara Sampson.Sampson determined Epstein died by suicide from hanging in his jail cell in August, while he was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.Epstein’s lawyers and family have refused to accept her finding, and the disgraced financier’s brother hired Dr. Michael Baden—erstwhile host of HBO’s Autopsy—to do his own investigation.Jeffrey Epstein’s Death Ruled Suicide by Hanging: New York City Medical ExaminerDuring an appearance Wednesday morning on Fox News, where he is a contributor, Baden said his own review isn’t complete but nonetheless suggested that suicide isn’t the cause of death.He claimed a collection of neck fractures in Epstein’s hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage “are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation.”“I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case,” Baden said.Although more common in homicidal strangulation cases, some studies have found that hyoid and thyroid fractures are not rare in suicidal hangings.A 2000 study in Australia found fractures in nearly half the 40 suicide cases it examined and said they were even more common in older victims and men; in fact, 15 percent had fractures of both the hyoid and the thyroid. And a 2010 study out of Thailand found such fractures in 25 percent of the confirmed suicides it reviewed.After His Suicide Watch Ended, Jeffrey Epstein Was Left to Look After HimselfBaden, who observed the autopsy performed by Sampson, served briefly as the city’s chief medical examiner before being fired in 1979 by then-Mayor Ed Koch in response to a complaint that he told doctors during a guest-speaking event that Gov. Nelson Rockefeller had died during sexual intercourse.Three years later, he was dismissed as chief deputy medical examiner by Suffolk County, New York, over a magazine article about ways to kill that wouldn’t show up in an autopsy; he protested that he was misquoted.In the '70s, Baden helped Congress investigate the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.—he concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald and James Earl Ray, respectively, were the killers—but became famous for serving as a private pathologist in high-profile cases like the Aaron Hernandez suicide, the O.J. Simpson murder trial, and the Jayson Williams shooting. He also served as a defense witness in the Phil Spector murder trial, where he reportedly testified that he had no conflict of interest in the case even though his wife was heading Spector’s legal team.Baden isn’t the only one skeptical about the official account of Epstein’s death at the high-security federal lockup in Manhattan, which is currently the subject of a Justice Department probe.Spencer Kuvin, a lawyer representing victims of Epstein, said serious questions remain, including the whereabouts of the guards assigned to monitor him, why the cameras outside his cell apparently didn’t work, and why he was taken off suicide watch.“It all makes no sense. Until they come out with the evidence, I don’t believe anything they’re telling us,” Kuvin said. “Exactly what happened I can’t tell you, but I certainly don’t believe the story they’re trying to feed everyone.”Sigrid McCawley, an attorney at Boies Schiller Flexner, the law firm representing some of Epstein’s victims, said the ongoing Justice Department probe “limits what can and should be said at this time.”“But as the public has come to to understand the horrifying scope and scale of the international sex trafficking system he operated for decades with impunity, what really matters for the brave survivors who are seeking justice is how he lived, not how he died,” she said. “That is how the man should be judged.”Kuvin said his clients are “more interested in seeing co-conspirators prosecuted” than in delving into Epstein autopsy theories.“The justice system failed. They either allowed him to take his own life or someone got in there and killed him,” Kuvin told The Daily Beast. “Either way, it’s a failure of the Justice Department… [which] has failed them repeatedly over the last 13 years. This was just one more time.”If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Michael Bloomberg ‘still looking at’ a presidential run … but only if Biden is out

Michael Bloomberg ‘still looking at’ a presidential run ... but only if Biden is outThe former New York mayor’s attitude towards wealth is staunchly opposite to Elizabeth Warren’s, with whom he’s repeatedly clashedMichael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, is teasing a presidential run if former vice-president Joe Biden were to fall back. Photograph: Ritzau Scanpix/ReutersFormer New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is at it again – teasing a presidential run. At 77, he won’t even be the oldest in the field, and the billionaire is certainly not short of funding to be able to throw his hat in the ring.Over the past several weeks, he’s signaled renewed interest in the democratic nomination, telling friends and associates he’s “still looking at” running for president. But he has cautioned he’d only join the race if former vice-president Joe Biden’s faltering centrist campaign takes a decisive hit or pulls out early in primary season, according to a report by CNBC.Biden’s collapse would likely leave Elizabeth Warren as frontrunner, a liberal candidate with whom he has repeatedly clashed over her anti-corporate policies and fears she will push the party too far to the left and eliminate the chance of a Democratic candidate unseating Donald Trump next year.Bloomberg’s disagreements with Warren are stark. In January, when he was considering a run for president, he described Warren’s wealth tax proposals in extreme terms .“We shouldn’t be embarrassed about our system,” he said. “You want to look at a system that’s not capitalistic, just take a look at what was perhaps the wealthiest country in the world and now people are starving to death. It’s called Venezuela.”More recently, at an anti-gun event in Iowa hosted by the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, a group Bloomberg founded and supports, he was again asked about Warren’s wealth tax proposals.“I just said to Senator Warren on the way out, ‘Senator, congratulations, it’s a nice talk. But let me just remind you if my company hadn’t been successful, we wouldn’t be here today, so enough with this stuff’,” he said.Bloomberg’s attitude to wealth is diametrically opposed to Warren, whose criticisms of the financial sector’s excesses are legion. Before he ever ran for New York mayor, his company threw a party in London complete with entertainers – representing avarice – instructed to wave bundles of cash and shout: ‘Money, ain’t it gorgeous?’Forbes recently put his wealth at $ 51bn.Bloomberg has previously flirted with presidential ambitions, but he decided not to run in 2016 after concluding he might split the Democratic vote. It is not clear that dynamic has changed, nor whether Democratic primary voters really have the taste for a billionaire candidate. But others see a possible centrist path to the White House.“The reality is both parties, Republican and Democrat, are in serious trouble, they are not functioning, and they’ve gone to extremes,” says veteran strategist Hank Sheinkopf. “Could Mike Bloomberg unite the centre of the party and bring people to the center if he can prove he can win? The answer is yes.”“Bloomberg has up-top professionals ready if he needs them, and he could assemble an operation in days and go to work. Whether the Democrats like him as centrist or not, they want to win the White House. He provides an extraordinary alternative to losing.”People familiar with Bloomberg’s thinking says his aims are clear – and they’re grouped neatly as gun control, climate change, coal, education and health.“He doesn’t understand why people don’t talk about his five points more. If he happens to mention something about the presidency at a cocktail party and they get talked about more, that’s a good thing for him,” one source said.Strengthening the rumor mill is Bloomberg’s appointment of his former deputy Patti Harris to his company’s management committee. Harris has been at the company since 1994. As Bloomberg’s deputy during his three terms as New York mayor, Harris was regarded, in personal and political terms, as the keeper of the Bloomberg brand, his personal gate keeper and point person on all strategic and staffing decisions.“She’s the most important person in his life and director of all his political aspiration,” says the source. “If you believe in this line of gossip, putting Harris in to run the company frees him up to run for president. You can argue that he’s setting himself up to do something.”When Bloomberg was last considering a run, almost exactly a year ago, a Quinnipiac University poll found he had an overall unfavorable rating of 32%, and 19% of Democrats viewed him negatively. Howard Wolfson, a top political advisor, hinted at how much Bloomberg would look to invest in a campaign for president.“Mike spent more than $ 100m in his last mayor’s race. Last time I looked, NYC is a fraction of the size of the country as a whole,” Wolfson explained, pointing out that he spent at least more than $ 110m backing Democrats during the 2018 congressional midterm elections.Asked what Bloomberg would spend on his own campaign, Wolfson replied, “Whatever is required.”With Biden appearing to be running low on funds, and a Warren or possibly Bernie Sanders candidacy looming, it’s not surprising that Bloomberg’s interest is again stirring. Last month, Fox Business reported that he still has a team of political advisors on the payroll.“I think it’s something he wants. He has not been shy about that,” a Bloomberg ally told CNBC. “Bloomberg is in if Biden is out,” a billionaire friend added.



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