CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King on Friday scored an exclusive interview with new 2020 Democrat Michael Bloomberg. But she used the almost 15 minutes of air time to hammer the former New York Mayor from the left, demanding to know how he would succeed on gun control. She also worried about excessive campaign spending and whether Bloomberg represents just another “old, white gentleman” in the field.
King is close friends with fellow 2020 candidate Cory Booker, someone she has financially supported in the past. (In May of 2019, she disclosed this on air. The network still let her interview Booker anyway.) King quoted Booker’s attacks to Bloomberg:
Continuing the Booker attack, she echoed, “Part of the conversation is ‘Here we go, another old, white gentleman.’ Isn’t it time for change? Isn’t it time for something new?” King also promoted Joe Biden as the wounded, betrayed friend of Bloomberg, citing his flip flop when it comes to entering the 2020 race:
Regarding gun control, King’s only questions were how to get it done, lamenting past failures: “‘We’re going to do it. We’re going to get it done. There will be changes.’ Why do you think you’re different this time?” After Bloomberg said of pro-Second Amendment voices “You don’t make much of the NRA. You don’t have to go talk to them at all,” the journalist didn’t quiz him on this elitist, exclusionary attitude.
No question about how Bloomberg’s aggressive support for gun control could turn off some voters. No mention of the nearly $14 million the Bloomberg Family Foundation has donated to Planned Parenthood.
The closest thing King managed when it came to questions from the right or center was when she pressed on the ex-Mayor on his partisan flexibility: “Who is the real Mike Bloomberg?… You were a Democrat. Then you were a Republican, then you were an independent and now you’re a Democrat. Who are you?”
The interview ran in the 7AM and 8AM hour, totaling 14 minutes and 2 seconds. But questions that might interest conservative and independent voters apparently weren’t considered.
CBS This Morning
7:03 AM ET
GAYLE KING: We’re going to begin with this — an interview with Mike Bloomberg who is adding his name to the lists of Democrats who say President Trump should be impeached. We spoke to Mr. Bloomberg in Aurora, Colorado, yesterday. It’s his first television interview since jumping into the presidential race last month. The former Republican mayor of New York City was in Colorado to talk about his one of his signature issues, gun violence. He is very passionate about this. He asked why he chose to enter the campaign so late. I want to talk about you getting in the race because when you were on CBS This Morning in September — [Cut to clip from September.] Are you sitting there going, “I wish I had done it?”
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: No, I never think back. That was not a road for me when Joe was in the race to get through because we would have split the votes.
[Cut back to current interview.]
KING: What happened between September and now?
KING: You think all the candidates who are running today, he would eat them up?
BLOOMBERG: Let me rephrase it. I think that I would do the best job of competing with him and beating him.
KING: One of the other things you said in September was that Joe Biden is a friend. Did you talk to Joe Biden ahead of time to say I’m getting in?
BLOOMBERG: No, I did not.
KING: Do you still consider him a friend?
BLOOMBERG: Sure. Why would he not be?
KING: I don’t know. I’m thinking with friends like you, who needs enemies?
BLOOMBERG: You are friendly with other great TV presenters in the morning.
KING: Yes, yes.
BLOOMBERG: You’re all competing for the same get.
KING: But I’m not trying to take their job.
BLOOMBERG: Well, I’m not trying to take his job either. He doesn’t have the job of president of the United States, and neither do I. At the moment the person who has it is Donald Trump. I’m trying to take away the job from Donald Trump.
KING: Nobody’s saying, “Mayor Bloomberg, meh.” They either they say, “Thank God he’s getting in, I know who I’m going to hope for, or I hear “What the hell is he thinking?” Is this a big ego stroke?
KING: Stop and frisk, you recently apologized for that. Some people are suspicious of the timing of your apology.
BLOOMBERG: Well, the mark of an intelligent, competent person is when they make a mistake, they have the guts to stand up and say “I made a mistake, I’m sorry.”
KING: We don’t question your belief that you made a mistake. I think the question is the timing that you realize you made the mistake.
BLOOMBERG: Nobody asked me about it until I started running for president. So, come on.
KING: Are you saying to people that you realize you made a mistake before, but just you didn’t mention it until now?
BLOOMBERG: The next debate is December. Cory Booker said that it could possibly be on that debate stage no one of color. There would be more billionaires in the race than black people. Is that a problem to you?
BLOOMBERG: Part of the conversation is here we go, another old, white gentleman. Isn’t it time for change? Isn’t it time for something new?
KING: So, you’re saying if you want diversity, get in.
BLOOMBERG: That is exactly a good way to phrase it. Thank you so much.
KING: Mayor Bloomberg was really — he had a lot to say about a lot of different issues. He clearly is up for the fight. He knows it’s going to be a fight. He knows it’s not going to be easy. He — he said, “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking because I really hadn’t intended to run,” but he’s so distress and disturbed by what he sees happening in Washington that he thinks he can make a difference.
ANTHONY MASON: Polling at 5 percent in one poll, considering how late he’s entered the race is a strong number.
KING: Anthony, he told me he plans to go to every single state before the election. I said, you know, “How are people going to get to know you?” He goes, “I’m talking to you right now. I’ll be doing interviews, we have campaign ads.” But he intends to go to every single state. We’ll see.
ANTHONY DOKOUPIL: Noteworthy to hear him say he hadn’t been asked about stop and frisk before you ask him. In January, he was asked at the Naval Academy and did not apologize then. In terms of saying it was an overzealous policy, a federal judge said it was a policy of indirect racial profiling. It will be interesting to see when people hear that if it’s an apology that resonates.
KING: I think he regrets saying that. I think people were jumping on the timing of it. He said, “Look, I I made a mistake, let’s move on.” He was clear about that. In the next hour, we’ll hear Bloomberg’s plan for tackling gun violence, which is why he went to Colorado. His response to claims that he’s trying to buy this election. And if he wins, he’d be the first Jewish president, and he’d be the first unmarried president in modern times. How he feels about that.
8:02 AM ET
KING: We’re going to begin with this: Mike Bloomberg one of the richest people, is pushing back against claims that he wants to buy the Democratic presidential nomination. We spoke to him about that. It was his first TV interview since he joined the 2020 race last month. In our exclusive conversation, the former New York City Mayor also discussed his plan to fight gun violence. We met him in Aurora, Colorado, yesterday afternoon, where he addressed that issue with the community that’s lost 12 people in a shooting rampage in 2012. We’re in Colorado, mayor, because you chose this place to launch your big gun initiative. I’m wondering, as I sat looking at the families, hearing the families, because they have heard this before, “We’re going to do it. We’re going to get it done. There will be changes.” Why do you think you’re different this time?
KING: You think you can work with the NRA?
BLOOMBERG: No. But I think you can avoid the NRA or you can beat them.
KING: So, you intend to work around the NRA is what you’re saying?
BLOOMBERG: I think you just don’t — you don’t make much of the NRA. You don’t have to go talk to them at all.
KING: It would be no surprise to you that your fellow candidates are not so glad to see you get in. Elizabeth Warren suggested you’re trying to buy the election. Bernie Sanders says, as a billionaire, you can run even the dumbest person on the Earth and pay for it. You see what they’re getting here. The point they’re all making.
BLOOMBERG: Yeah, the point they’re making is it’s —
KING: You spent a lot of money.
BLOOMBERG: No. The point they’re making, it’s okay if they ask other people for all their money and it will help their careers. Whereas if somebody goes out and makes the money themselves and gives it away, I’ve given, virtually all my income goes to public health issues and education and the arts and the environment, things that I care about. And I think I could do a lot of good for the country if I could become president. And so using some of those moneys to fund the campaign is fine.
KING: I don’t think you should miss the point —
BLOOMBERG: Look — come on, my father made $6,000 the best year of his life. I don’t come from money. Nobody gave me a head start. I had my parents gave me an education in public school system in — in Medford, Massachusetts. They taught me ethics and hard work. I worked my way through college. Then I worked for 15 years. I got fired. I started a company. The company turned out to be phenomenally successful.
KING: You’ve been very successful.
BLOOMBERG: I give 100 percent of the money away. What’s wrong with that? They’re criticizing me for it. Ask what they’re doing. Why didn’t they do that? They had a chance to make a lot of money, and how much of their own money do they put into their campaigns?
KING: I think the point they’re making, a lot of people are making, is you’re a billionaire who is buying this election. What is your response to that?
BLOOMBERG: I’m not buying any more — I’m doing exactly the same thing they’re doing except that I am using my own money. They’re using somebody else’s money, and those other people expect something from them. No end gives you money if they don’t expect something. And I don’t want to be bought.
KING: I want to get to a couple of personal issues because you would be the first modern-day single president. But we all know in New York, you are not an eligible bachelor. Your significant other, Diana Taylor, is a very accomplished, highly respected, highly admired woman. Would she be our de-facto first lady? Is she playing a role in your campaign?
BLOOMBERG: She’s playing a role in the campaign, number one. Number two, we’ve only been living together for 19 years. And I think it’s fair if I can speak for her, as well, neither of us have any plans to change.
KING: Living together. Do you all think about getting married?
BLOOMBERG: Not a subject I’m going to discuss with you, dear.
KING: Well, I am curious. I didn’t know it had been that long. Okay. You didn’t answer.
BLOOMBERG: It only seems like half that length of time.
KING: But you didn’t answer the question, would she be our de facto first lady?
BLOOMBERG: Yeah, of course.
KING: Who is the real Mike Bloomberg? I was thinking you were a Democrat, then you were a Republican, then you were an independent, and now you’re a Democrat. Who are you?
BLOOMBERG: I am a social liberal, fiscal moderate who is basically non-partisan. I grew up as a Democrat in Massachusetts. There are no Republicans. I moved to New York where I was a Democrat. There are no Republicans. I couldn’t become mayor on the democratic line. The Republicans said, “Well, you can run as a Republican.” In New York City the mayor’s job is not a partisan job, so I did. But you could have voted me on a different line. We have a complicated system —
KING: Don’t you think most of America is in the middle? Most people are centrists.
BLOOMBERG: I do believe that most of the public is in the middle. I think it is — most people would say whether they like my views or not, they would say he’s at least honest and genuine. Probably say smart but not everybody would agree with that. But I think they’d all say hard working and honest.