Michael Bennet Makes First His Ad Buy: Campaign Update

Bill Allison
Michael Bennet Makes First His Ad Buy: Campaign Update

(Bloomberg) -- Michael Bennet, who didn’t make the cut for Thursday’s Democratic debate in Houston, is taking to the airwaves in Iowa with his first media buy of the campaign.

The presidential candidate and Colorado senator reserved at least $32,891 in the Des Moines and Ceder Rapids markets, according to Advertising Analytics, which tracks political advertising. The ads are slated to air starting Tuesday.

Bennet failed to meet either requirement set by the Democratic National Committee for making the debate stages. The 10 candidates who participated had at least 130,000 unique donors and reached 2% in four national polls. Bennet will need to reach those marks by Oct. 1 to make the cut for the next round, scheduled to begin Oct. 15 in Westerville, Ohio.

Spending on ads can boost a candidate’s standing in the polls, but they’re expensive. Billionaire Tom Steyer, who qualified for the October debate after entering the race in July, has spent about $14.3 million on broadcast and cable spots. That’s four times the amount Bennet’s campaign has raised.

Democrats Set Next Debate for Oct. 15 in Ohio (2:36 p.m.)

The Democratic National Committee announced Friday that the fourth debate of presidential candidates will take place Oct. 15, possibly with a second night on Oct. 16, depending on how many candidates qualify.

The forum at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, will be co-hosted by the New York Times and CNN. Eleven candidates have already met the criteria: the 10 who participated in the third debate on Thursday, along with billionaire Tom Steyer, who only qualified recently.

To qualify for the debate, candidates must receive at least 2% support in four approved polls conducted nationally or in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. They must also raise money from a minimum of 130,000 unique donors, including 400 contributors in each of at least 20 states by Oct. 1.

The October debate will be moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett and Marc Lacey from the Times. The format has not yet been announced. -- Ryan Teague Beckwith

Harris Asks for Inquiry into Probe of Carmakers (11:44 a.m.)

Senator Kamala Harris asked the Justice Department’s internal watchdog to investigate the legal underpinnings of an antitrust probe into four automakers that agreed to meet compromise tailpipe emissions targets offered by California regulators.

In a letter to the department’s inspector general released Friday by her office, the California Democrat and presidential candidate said the antitrust inquiry “raises serious concerns about whether federal law enforcement is being used to coerce” the companies into abandoning efforts to produce lower-emitting vehicles. The probe also raises questions about whether the Justice Department is being used for political purposes, she wrote.

At issue is a July agreement by Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., BMW AG and Volkswagen AG to meet future vehicle greenhouse gas emissions targets offered by California regulators that are more stringent than under a rollback proposed by the Trump administration but easier than rules adopted by the Obama administration in effect today.

Harris’ request comes after other congressional Democrats have vowed to scrutinize the probe, revealed last week. The House Judiciary committee on Monday said it planned to hold hearings and request documents from the White House and Justice Department related to the antitrust probe. -- Ryan Beene

Castro Denies Slap at Biden’s Memory Was Unfair (8:02 a.m.)

Julian Castro said he has no regrets about questioning former Vice President Joe Biden’s memory during the 2020 Democratic presidential debate in Houston on Thursday -- a moment that drew boos from the crowd.

“I wouldn’t do it differently,“ the former Housing and Urban Development secretary told CNN in an interview early Friday. “That was not a personal attack, this was about a disagreement over what the vice president said regarding health-care policy.“

Castro, a former Obama administration colleague of Biden’s, argued during the debate that his health-care proposal was better than Biden’s because people who qualified would automatically be enrolled, rather than having to opt in to Biden’s Medicare plan.

“They wouldn’t have a buy in,” Castro said during the debate.

When Biden shot back, “They do not have to buy in,” Castro pounced. “Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” he said. “You’re forgetting that?”

Castro defended his comments in his CNN interview, saying it’s necessary to highlight the policy differences between Democratic presidential contenders. “The vice president has been around for a long time,“ he said. “When we’re up there, we’re up there to debate.“ -- Kathleen Miller

COMING UP

Elizabeth Warren will appear Saturday at the Massachusetts Democratic Convention in Springfield.Biden will speak Sunday at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, to commemorate the 56th anniversary of a bombing that killed four girls and injured 22 other people.On Monday, Biden, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Pete Buttigieg and Bill DeBlasio will attend the Galivants Ferry Stump in South Carolina.Also on Monday, Warren will speak at a rally in New York City’s Washington Square Park.Many candidates will appear at the LGBTQ Presidential Forum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday. Contenders who have confirmed they will attend are: Biden, Cory Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Klobuchar, Joe Sestak, Warren and Marianne Williamson.

--With assistance from Kathleen Miller, Ryan Beene and Ryan Teague Beckwith.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Allison in Washington DC at ballison14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Steve Geimann

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