Sanders: Bloomberg is attempting to 'buy the presidency'

ADAM KELSEY and MICHELLE STODDART

Sanders: Bloomberg is attempting to 'buy the presidency' originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

Sen. Bernie Sanders directly attacked former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg for attempting to "buy the presidency" at a campaign rally Sunday in Carson City, Nevada.

"Well, you buy the presidency -- at least he’s going to try to buy the presidency -- by spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads," Sanders said.

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The charge comes after a record-breaking month of spending by the Bloomberg campaign, which has spent more than $381 million since Bloomberg announced his bid in November of 2019. In January, less than two month into his campaign, Bloomberg spent more than $200 million on ads.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign event in Carson City, Nev., Feb. 16, 2020. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

Sanders said that he "didn’t see Mike in Iowa when we were holding town meetings with folks there," and also criticized Bloomberg's absence in other key states including New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

"But he thinks he can buy this election," Sanders said. "Well, I got news for Mr. Bloomberg, and that is the American people are sick and tired of billionaires buying elections."

(MORE: The Note: Bloomberg spends and hacks his way into campaign conversation)

Sanders also criticized other Democratic rivals including former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, for their fundraising.

"Both of them have received campaign funds from more than 40 billionaires," Sanders said. "Pete [Buttigieg] has gotten money from the CEOs of the drug companies and the health care industry."

(MORE: Big dollar bundlers, grassroots donors boost Biden's Q4 fundraising)

This is not the first time Sanders has attacked his rival campaigns for their private fundraisers and for accepting donations from wealthy donors. In December, Sanders criticized Buttigieg for his "wine cave" fundraisers.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg attends a campaign event at Buffalo Soldiers national museum in Houston, Feb. 13, 2020. (Go Nakamura/Reuters, FILE)

At Sunday's rally, current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who endorsed Sanders on Friday, also criticized his predecessor over the stop-and-frisk policies Bloomberg employed in New York.

"For years and years we were told that we needed a broken and discriminatory system that denigrated young men of color, that separated police from community and created division," de Blasio said. "We were told we needed it. If we didn’t have it, oh my God, there’d be so much crime, there’d be so much chaos."

Bloomberg has apologized for the stop-and-frisk policies, but continues to receive criticism on the subject.