(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MICHAEL BLOOMBERG SAYING: "Number one priority is to get rid of Donald Trump." In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said he is ready to spend much of his vast fortune to defeat Donald Trump in 2020 - shrugging off criticism from rivals that the billionaire is trying to buy the U.S. election.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MICHAEL BLOOMBERG SAYING: "I'm spending all my money to get rid of Donald Trump.
Do you want me to spend more or less?
End of story." But it's not the end of the story for left-leaning candidates, such as Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who have continually blasted the former New York mayor for launching his campaign with a $37-million media blitz, courtesy of his own deep pockets.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ELIZABETH WARREN SAYING: "Michael Bloomberg is making a bet about democracy in 2020 - he doesn't need people, he only needs bags and bags of money.
I think Michael Bloomberg is wrong." Bloomberg spoke to Reuters aboard his campaign bus over the weekend during a nearly 300-mile drive across Texas, one of the 14 states that will vote on Super Tuesday primary contests on March 3rd.
He dismissed criticism from the likes of Warren as typical campaign rhetoric from presidential rivals.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MICHAEL BLOOMBERG SAYING: “These are just political things they say, hoping they catch on and they don’t like me doing it, because it competes with them, not because it’s bad policy.” Bloomberg, a former Republican, entered the race late, missing the first six Democratic debates.
Polls put him in roughly fifth place, behind former vice president Joe Biden, Sanders, Warren and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg - all of whom, he says, are too liberal to beat Trump.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MICHAEL BLOOMBERG SAYING: “One of the reasons I’m reasonably confident I could beat Trump is I would be acceptable to the moderate Republicans you have to have.
Whether you like it or not, you can’t win the election unless you get moderate Republicans to cross the line.
The others are much too liberal for them and they would certainly vote for Donald Trump.” Ranked by Forbes as the eighth-richest American, the media mogul has spent more on campaign ads since he launched his bid in November than his main Democratic rivals have over the last year.
He and Trump both plan to air 60-second commercials during the Super Bowl on February 2nd.
The Trump campaign said it paid $10 million for air time.
It's a prime example of both businessmen's abilities to devote vast resources to reach millions of viewers.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MICHAEL BLOOMBERG SAYING: "You can’t get to 330 million people by shaking hands.
Television is still the magic medium.
If the Super Bowl wasn’t a place to get to an awful lot of people they wouldn’t be charging a lot, or nobody would be paying it.
This is capitalism at work.” Bloomberg is skipping the first four Democratic nomination contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, all due to take place in February.
Instead, he is waging a nationwide campaign to capture delegates in later contests such as Texas, which will be the second largest prize among the 14 Super Tuesday states.