The three network morning shows on Monday hyped the entry of Michael Bloomberg into the 2020 race as a “moderate” who will take on other “moderates,” Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. They also touted the ex-New York Mayor’s former Republican status. On CBS This Morning, correspondent Ed O’Keefe parroted centrist talking points: “After initially ruling out a run earlier this year, Bloomberg is officially in, running as a moderate Democrat.”
In reality, Bloomberg is radially supportive of restricting the Second Amendment and who supports abortion. O’Keefe instead reminded, “Bloomberg, a Republican turned independent turned Democrat declined to run in 2016.”
On NBC’s Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker labeled the other liberals in the Democratic field as moderates. “But Bloomberg could pose the biggest threat to moderate candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.”
(Biden’s last three American Conservative Union scores? 0, 0, 4. Buttigieg is stridently pro-abortion and pro-gun control and wants to pack the Supreme Court. For more on how these candidates AREN’T moderates, go here.)
Welker offered a slightly more cynical take on Bloomberg’s party flip-flopping, reminding: “Bloomberg, who has changed his party affiliation frequently, from Republican to independent and now Democrat, is shaking up the already crowded field.”
On ABC’s Good Morning America, correspondent Linsey Davis repeated, “The 77-year-old former Republican says he's a new choice for Democrats.”
On November 18, cable outlets also labeled Bloomberg and Buttigieg as “moderates.”
Transcripts from the three networks are below:
CBS This Morning
TONY DOKOUPIL: One of the world's richest people is officially running for president, but he won't be on the ballot in the early contests that are considered critical to most of his rivals. Michael Bloomberg, the former Republican mayor of New York, launched his Democratic Party campaign with millions of dollars in TV ads. Ed O'Keefe is covering campaign 2020. Ed, good morning. What's behind the late start strategy for Bloomberg?
ED O’KEEFE: Money. Money, money, money. He has more of it than any other candidate. So he doesn’t have some of the hurdles that the others do. After initially ruling out a run earlier this year, Bloomberg is officially in, running as a moderate Democrat. Whether some think he's too wealthy, too old, or too late to join the fray, Bloomberg believes he says the best shot of beating the other New Yorker in the race, President Trump.
CAMPAIGN AD: He could have just been the middle-class kid who made good. But Mike Bloomberg became the guy who did good.
O’KEEFE: Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg kicked off his White House bid this weekend with a new campaign ad.
CAMPAIGN AD: Now he's taking on him to rebuild a country.
O’KEEFE: The week-long ad blitz will roll out in at least 46 states and cost a record-breaking $34 million. The multi-billionaire is promising not to take any campaign contributions and won't accept a salary if he wins the White House. Bloomberg, a Republican turned independent turned Democrat declined to run in 2016. In September he told CBS This Morning he wouldn't join the 2020 primary while former Vice President Joe Biden led the field.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: There was not a road for me when Joe was in the race to get through because we would have split the votes.
O’KEEFE: That was then. Polls now show an increasingly fluid primary with Biden essentially locked in a four-way race with Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and liberal Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Biden welcomed Bloomberg’s entry this weekend
JOE BIDEN: Come on. I welcome the competition.
O’KEEFE: But other Democrats were critical.
ELIZABETH WARREN: The election should not be for sale. Not to billionaires, not to corporate executives.
BERNIE SANDERS: It does not mean billionaires buying elections or just because they are billionaires they think they can run for president
O’KEEFE: There are some big hurdles ahead for the mayor. In addition to likely skipping the first two nominating states in the Democratic primary, refusing campaign donations means he won't need Democratic National Committee rules to qualify for primary debates. His team says if the rules change, he'll gladly participate. In a few moments ago, he will make his first campaign stops today in Norfolk, Virginia.
Good Morning America
ROBIN ROBERTS: Now to the race for 2020. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg announcing that he is running for the democratic presidential nomination. Linsey Davis is at the Bloomberg tower here in midtown Manhattan with more. Good morning, Linsey.
LINSEY DAVIS: Good morning to you, robin. For several weeks it was this game of is he or isn't he. Now Michael Bloomberg is in. Now, this is the same man who just eight months ago had said, “I'm not running for president,” citing that he was very clear-eyed about how difficult it would be to win the nomination. Well, now Michael Bloomberg has had a change of heart and he is putting his money where his mouth is. It's official. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is running for president of the United States.
CAMPAIGN AD: Mike Bloomberg, leader, problem solver. It's going to take all three to build back a country.
DAVIS: Over the weekend at Bloomberg campaign headquarters in New York City, coming alive with staff and moving trucks.
DAVIS: SNL including a Bloomberg caricature, interrupting the most recent Democratic debate.
DAVIS: The 77-year-old former Republican says he's a new choice for Democrats.
CAMPAIGN AD: And now he's taking on him.
DAVIS: In the lead-up to this announcement, Bloomberg apologized for his stop and frisk policy that he defended for years.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong.
DAVIS: Estimated to be worth $53 billion, he's one of the richest people in the world, and now using his own money to fund his race for the White House. His campaign says he'll spend whatever it takes. Now rolling out $37 million in TV ads, more than half of the $50 million the entire 2020 Democratic presidential field has spent on TV ads so far this year, which is rubbing some of his opponents the wrong way.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: We do not believe that billionaires have the right to buy elections.
ANDREW YANG: You can't buy passion. If you have to put people against money, I will take people every day of the week.
DAVIS: While Bloomberg has the financial resources, his apparent strategy, bypassing the early contest, hasn't worked in the modern era, though it is doable if he's able to focus on the states that make up Super Tuesday on March 3 and succeed. 40 percent of the delegates are up for grabs. Bloomberg did not file for the New Hampshire primary but he still has a chance in Iowa and South Carolina. Robin?
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: In the meantime, there's another big shake-up this morning in the Democratic presidential race. After months of speculation, former New York Mayor, and billionaire, Michael Bloomberg made it official over the weekend. He has thrown his hat into the 2020 race. NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker has been following the story. Hey, Kristen. Good morning.
KRISTEN WELKER: Hey, Savannah, good morning to you. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg could reshape the Democratic race, and he's out with a $35 million media blitz, the largest single advertising buy in campaign history and he's taking his fight directly to President trump calling him a, quote, “existential threat to our country.” Now, it comes after Bloomberg had expressed concerns the current Democratic field wasn’t strong enough? But did he wait too late? This morning, Michael Bloomberg is making it official.
BLOOMBERG CAMPAIGN AD: Mike Bloomberg for president. Jobs creator, leader, problem solver.
WELKER: After months of speculation, the former New York mayor announcing his candidacy in a video, Sunday, a part of a $35 media blitz touting his record as a three term mayor.
BLOOMBERG CAMPAIGN AD: When New York suffered the tragedy of 9/11, he took charge becoming a three-term mayor who brought a city back from the ashes and brought back jobs and hope with it.
WELKER: Bloomberg, who has changed his party affiliation frequently, from Republican to independent and now Democrat, is shaking up the already crowded field. Still, Bloomberg faces steep hurdles. At 77, he's one of the oldest candidates in the race. And his late start means he’ll skip early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Bloomberg's record already under a microscope, including his controversial stop and frisk policing policy, which he imposed as mayor. But last weekend, he apologized at a church in Brooklyn.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong. And I'm sorry.
WELKER: Now, rivals are pouncing on the businessman turned politician who is worth an estimated $50 billion.
BERNIE SANDERS: Multi-billionaires like Mr. Bloomberg are not going to get very far in this election.
ELIZABETH WARREN: I know this. And that's elections should not be for sale, not to billionaires, not to corporate executives.
WELKER: But Bloomberg could pose the biggest threat to moderate candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Over the weekend, Biden pressed on concerns he may not be able to beat President Trump.
BIDEN: Watch me. Watch me. The idea that I'm not in better shape than Mayor Bloomberg physically. Everybody in America who has ever been available in politics, especially if they have a billion dollars, thinks they can beat Trump.
WELKER: It's unlikely Bloomberg will get on a debate stage because he's refusing donations, and candidates have to show support for donors, to qualify, Savannah.