AUSTIN, Texas — Jan 11, 2019, 1:39 PM ET

Bloomberg says he'd self-fund possible 2020 White House bid

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Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that if he runs for president, he'll pay for it himself, defending candidates who use personal riches to bankroll campaigns.

Bloomberg's comments to reporters in Texas on Friday follow a jab from another top 2020 contender. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren recently decried the Democratic presidential nomination becoming "one more plaything that billionaires can buy."

But Bloomberg says his riches insulate him from having to curry favor with special interests.

"I ran three times. I used only my own money so I didn't have to ask anybody what they wanted in return for a contribution," Bloomberg said. "And, if I ran again, I would do the same thing. I think not having to adjust what you say and what you work on based on who financed your campaign is one of the things that the public really likes."

He added: "I understand not everybody can be self-funded but those that can, I think, should."

Bloomberg was in Austin to announce that the city had won funding to help combat climate change from his philanthropic foundation. He told reporters he won't make a decision on a possible presidential bid for "another month or so."

Warren has already formed a presidential exploratory committee and generated excitement with a visit to Iowa last week. She asked recently: "Is this going to be a Democratic primary that truly is a grassroots movement that is funded by the grassroots and it's done with grassroots volunteers, or is this going to be something that's one more plaything that billionaires can buy?"

Warren said on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" that Democrats should "link arms" and take grassroots funding. "No to the billionaires," she said.

Bloomberg didn't mention Warren by name on Friday, but shortly after his comments, spokeswoman Paige Hill said, "Mike has met Warren and was impressed by her." She also offered a statement from Bloomberg senior adviser Howard Wolfson that said "Mike is somebody who did not grow up with privilege. He made all of his money on his own."

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Associated Press Writer Steve Peoples in New York contributed to this report.

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  • Robert Catt

    Ready to tell us what to think and act, after all he knows better he is rich.

  • wilmers13

    So he was impressed with Warren? I saw her say something like the American middle class has been hollowed out - but she forgot to ask why have we had a deterioration but China has lifted hundreds of millions into the middle class? Analytical skills missing or did the news editor snip that off the clip?

  • comment 1777

    oh goodie, i didn't think the democrats could find someone worse than Clinton, now they have found two with a third possibly running......

    i guess they really really want another 4 years of trump.

  • Jim J.

    Oh goodie, another oligarch who wants to buy the presidency for his trophy room. Cool.

  • zayperformance

    BLOOMBERG FOR PRESIDENT!

  • IndependentThinking

    Add another one to the Clown Car. Actually it's a bus but who cares.

  • Prophet With Honor

    He is actually self-made which speaks well to his ability. He is a moderate. Ignoring age he may be well suited.
    However, he is not the one.

  • Smedley D Butler

    Mike you and Mitt might team up for a primary challenge to Trump, but in all seriousness, I think all you are contemplating as a Democrat is just flushing a lot of money.

  • My two cents

    He made a compelling speech at the DNC in 2016 and it gave everyone a warning about Trump and what his Presidency would be like. He was actually very accurate. I just don't think a guy that has a history of flipping between supporting Republicans and then back to the Democrats is going to win. He's just another billionaire (although I actually believe his net worth) drunk on power.

  • OtherMrNiceGuy

    Maybe he needs a tax write off (if that is even possible... I bet it is)... his chances of winning the primary are about 0.01%

  • Bob Marshall

    Look like a liberal Trump. Sorry, I'll pass.

  • hopesprings52

    Right now, Biden looks like the man. I'd like to see him choose a young, progressive vp.
    But Bloomberg is also very impressive. He has a proven record of success in government and business.

  • BD70

    No thanks. We have a president who isn't beholden to the tax payers and look how that is turning out. Trump supposedly funded his campaign by himself and is not taking a salary.

  • turtlemouth

    Don't like Trump but keep your nanny state in NY, Bloomberg.

  • Alberta Ed

    Just call him Big Gulp.

  • kittenpops

    Because so many people are clamoring for him to be president??

  • Chipnputt

    The democrat's debate stage gets fuller by the day. I wonder if they will surpass the republican's numbers of 2016?

  • david

    Please, please, please can we stop putting billionaires in charge? Stop thinking the 1% has any idea what the rest of the country needs or wants....

  • snake

    Mr. Bloomberg unlike Trump made his money the old fashioned way by earning every penny. He certainly has the right to spend it as he wishes and he would make an excellent president.