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Bernie Sanders Says Bloomberg Does Not ‘Have the Right to Buy the Presidency’ (Video)

”He’s part of the problem,“ the leading Democratic candidate of Bloomberg’s campaign strategy

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who leads the pack of Democratic presidential nominees in recent polls, criticized Mike Bloomberg’s campaign over the weekend, accusing the former New York City mayor of buying the presidency.

“He’s part of the problem,” Sanders said in a SiriusXM interview on Sunday. “Look: Bloomberg — anybody else in America — has the right to run for president, but I think in a democracy, you do not have the right to buy the presidency.”

It has been reported that Bloomberg spent more than $300 million on campaign advertising — and over $100 million of that going to ads attacking President Donald Trump — in January alone. And with Bloomberg’s estimated net worth of $60 billion, there’s plenty more for him to spend.

Watch the interview in the video above.

“It really is absurd that we have a guy who is prepared to spend, already, many hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads,” Sanders told SiriusXM Progress’ Dean Obeidallah. “Meanwhile, he did not do what all of the other Democratic candidates do: He wasn’t holding town meetings in Iowa or New Hampshire  or Nevada or South Carolina. Those were not important enough for him. He could simply buy the election with hundreds of millions of dollars of ads.”

Among Bloomberg’s most recent big ad buys was a single 60-second spot focusing on his stance against the “gun lobby”  that aired in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl and cost a reported $10 million. A representative for Bloomberg’s campaign previously told TheWrap that the campaign could “confirm we paid market rate.”

Sanders used his opposition to Bloomberg’s strategy to underscore his own platform, saying, “That is the basic, fundamental problem of American society: that billionaires have extraordinary wealth and power over the economic and political life of this country.”

Also at the end of January, the Democratic National Committee revised the thresholds necessary for candidates to qualify for debates, paving the way for Bloomberg to take the stage at the next debate.

NBC News, which is hosting the ninth Democratic debate on Feb. 19 in Las Vegas, reported that the party did away with the grassroots donor threshold, which has required candidates in every other debate thus far to receive donations from tens of thousands of supporters to qualify.

As Bloomberg is self-funding his campaign and not accepting donations, this now gives him the opportunity to qualify for the debate, which is being co-hosted by MSNBC.