Biden, Bloomberg spar with campaign videos ahead of critical Nevada debate

"I don’t endorse Republicans," Biden said of Bloomberg.

February 19, 2020, 5:50 PM

Ahead of the Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, co-hosted by NBC, MSNBC and The Nevada Independent, the campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden released a new digital video slamming former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg for his past comments about former President Barack Obama.

“Welcome to the debates, Mike. We have a lot to catch up on about Barack Obama’s record,” Biden tweeted with a video set to circus-like music appearing to mock Bloomberg’s use of memes.

Using the template of an Instagram direct message, Biden’s team goes after Bloomberg for his criticism of Obama’s record on the climate and economy.

“Hello Internet, I’m spending a lot of money this year. And I’d like to use it to make you think I’m a fan of Barack Obama. I’m not though. Quite the opposite,” the video reads.

The video features sound bites and news clips of Bloomberg speaking critically of Obamacare and Wall Street reforms. It also includes a clip of Bloomberg saying he thinks the country is “more segregated in terms of race” under Obama.

“Oh, I also refused to endorse him in 2008. But if a half a billion dollars in ads won’t make you ignore my record, that’s okay. I’ll always have my real friends,” the video continues, showing photos and clips of Bloomberg talking with or about Donald Trump.

PHOTO:FILE PHOTO: Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump attend The Fourth Annual JOE TORRE SAFE AT HOME FOUNDATION Golf Classic at Trump National Golf Course on July 20, 2007, in Briarcliff Manor, NY.
FILE PHOTO: Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump attend The Fourth Annual JOE TORRE SAFE AT HOME FOUNDATION Golf Classic at Trump National Golf Course on July 20, 2007, in Briarcliff Manor, NY.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

The video ends with a statement saying, “Money can’t rewrite history.”

The Bloomberg team responded quickly, cutting their own digital ad by using clips from a 2013 speech at a conference where Biden praises Bloomberg.

"We are honored to have Joe’s support," the campaign tweeted alongside the video.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it. I don't know anybody I've worked with in my career -- and I've been hanging around a long time -- who does more to create the future than you, Mike,” Biden said at the Clinton Global Initiative conference before presenting the Leadership in Public Service award to Bloomberg in 2013.

“Mike has what every public officials should have: passion matched with principal," Biden said in the speech. "Your legacy extends well beyond the five boroughs, the nation and the world has continued to benefit from the leadership that you have shown, and I am absolutely confident it's going to exist in the years to come. The thing I like about Mike is not about words. It's always about action."

“I'm Mike Bloomberg and I approve this message," the ad ends.

PHOTO:FILE PHOTO: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to Vice President Joe Biden at a press conference for gun control reform on March 21, 2013, in New York City.
FILE PHOTO: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to Vice President Joe Biden at a press conference for gun control reform on March 21, 2013, in New York City. The Vice President and Mayor Bloomberg were joined by family members of Sandy Hook shooting victims at the city hall event.
John Moore/Getty Images

Biden's Communications Director Kate Bedingfield took issue with Bloomberg's response video.

"Using video and audio to imply you have an endorsement you don’t have. Yep, this tracks," she said in a tweet.

When asked about the video released by Bloomberg's campaign, Biden laughed it off, taking a swipe at the former mayor.

"Are you kidding me? I don’t endorse Republicans,” Biden told reporters while marching on the picket line with culinary workers outside of the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

The same message was later tweeted from the candidate's account.

"He’s basically been a Republican his whole life," Biden continued. "The fact of the matter is he didn’t endorse Barack or me when we ran... He’s using Barack’s pictures like they’re good buddies. I’m going to talk about his record."

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden addresses the crowd during a South Carolina campaign launch party, Feb. 11, 2020, in Columbia, S.C., the night of the New Hampshire primary.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden addresses the crowd during a South Carolina campaign launch party, Feb. 11, 2020, in Columbia, S.C., the night of the New Hampshire primary.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

On a call with reporters ahead of the debate, Biden's aides lit into Bloomberg, signaling that the former vice president intends to draw a sharp contrast with the former mayor on the debate stage.

One senior campaign official for Biden called recent stories about Bloomberg "disturbing," saying they have "questions about what else is still out there."

"$60 billion can buy you a lot of ads but it cannot erase your record, and it cannot purchase character,” the campaign official said.

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