BURLINGTON, Vt. – Presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg held a campaign event in Burlington on Monday.
Bloomberg is the first candidate to rally in the Queen City this election cycle, doing so as Democratic frontrunners vie for votes in Iowa and New Hampshire.
“I’m not competing in the first four early states,” Bloomberg said. “I wasn’t going to run, then I changed my mind because I didn’t like what the candidates were doing in terms of their policies. They didn’t make any sense.”
Bloomberg entered the race in November. Several candidates had already dropped out of the race at that point, including former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke.
Burlington is well off the beaten path of a typical presidential campaign in late January, but Bloomberg is focusing his campaign’s efforts on the 14 “Super Tuesday” states that will vote on March 3. Vermont and Massachusetts are included in that busy day.
Vermont’s steady support of Bernie Sanders will make it difficult for Bloomberg to gain traction – he was asked why Vermont voters should consider him over their Senator.
“I can’t speak for the Senator, I can only speak for myself,” Bloomberg said. “I’ve had 12 years of experience in government and decades of experience in the business world.”
In response to a later question asking if he’s labeling Sanders a “one-idea person,” Bloomberg continued to avoid direct criticism of him.
“You’ll have to ask Bernie what his ideas are,” Bloomberg said. “I’m not an expert on him any more than he’s an expert on me.”
The New York billionaire’s policy proposals include expanding funding for the low-income housing tax credit, establishing a five-part system to address gun violence, and stepping up the federal government’s efforts on climate change.
His proposals are similar to other Democratic candidates’ policy ideas, but Bloomberg believes he’s the only one that can defeat Donald Trump.
“He breaks promises, and I keep them,” Bloomberg said. “He’s a climate-denyer, I was trained as an engineer and I actually believe in science.”
Bloomberg detailed instances in which he challenged Trump on gun safety, coal pollution and big tobacco.
A January 26 Fox News poll has Bloomberg at 10 percent support nationally. An ABC News poll released on the same day has him at eight percent.
Bloomberg has positioned himself as a moderate voice in the primary. He served as New York City’s mayor from 2002 to 2013. He is the CEO of Bloomberg L.P., a privately-held financial, software, data, and media company.