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Bernie Sanders fired away at Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday night in Las Vegas, accusing the billionaire former mayor of New York City of trying to buy the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
“You know, Mr. Bloomberg has every right in the world to run for president of the United States,” Sanders said during a town hall event hosted by CNN. “He’s an American citizen. But I don’t think he has the right to buy this election.”
Sanders also slammed Bloomberg over stop-and-frisk, the much-criticized anti-crime policy that Bloomberg backed as mayor, and promoted his own ideas on health care and immigration issues.
Bloomberg — who is ranked by Forbes as the eighth richest person in the U.S. — has spent more than $344 million on ads since declaring his candidacy in late November, according to Advertising Analytics, a well-known ad-tracking firm.
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Sanders called it “a bit obscene” that Bloomberg chose to not compete in Iowa and New Hampshire like the other candidates.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to supporters at a primary night election rally in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (Associated Press)
“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,” Sanders added.
The independent U.S. senator from Vermont released 10 years of tax returns in 2019, which showed he made $561,293 in 2018, including $133,000 from his Senate salary and $391,000 from sales from his book, “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.”
Sanders also criticized stop-and-frisk policies that Bloomberg approved in New York, saying the policy “humiliated and offended hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people.”
In 2011 under Bloomberg, the New York Police Department stopped 685,724 people with an overwhelming 88 percent deemed innocent of any charges.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign event at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Feb. 18, 2020. (Associated Press)
“And then, finally, after he left and Bill de Blasio became mayor, they did away with stop-and-frisk, and you know what? The crime rate continued to go down,” Sanders added.
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When asked about his universal health care campaign, Sanders referenced the 87 million uninsured or underinsured people in the U.S., while discussing his belief in giving guaranteed health care to all people in need of care.
When the topic of President Trump came up Tuesday, Sanders said he didn’t want to spend too much time on him because “it’s not worth it.”
“But one of the ugly things that he does, as you know, is he tries to divide our people up based on the color of our skin or where we were born or our religion or our sexual orientation or whatever. That’s what he does,” Sanders said. “We’re trying to bring people together, not divide them up.”
Unlike most of Tuesday, Sanders didn’t hold back from criticizing Trump on Monday night when he addressed more than 17,000 supporters in Tacoma — during the largest rally of any presidential candidate this cycle in Washington state.
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“We are here tonight to focus on two enormously consequential issues. First, together we are going to defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country, Donald Trump.” Sanders said. “He is a pathological liar and no matter what your political point of view may be, we cannot have a liar, we cannot have a president who is running a corrupt administration. … By the time this campaign is over, the American people will understand. He is a sell-out to the working families of this country that he promised to defend.”
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