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Mike Bloomberg, eyeing big-vote swing states, makes second stop in Michigan

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

As most Democratic presidential candidates scurried off to New Hampshire in the wake of the Iowa caucus debacle on Tuesday, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg paid a visit to Detroit.

Bloomberg’s presidential campaign is only about two months old. This was his second stop in Michigan.

The multi-billionaire’s late-start, heavily self-financed campaign is taking an unorthodox approach by largely skipping the early-voting states.

“I’m spending a lot of time in the swing states that will decide this election,” Bloomberg said. “Like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Florida and North Carolina and, yes, Michigan.”

Bloomberg tried to sell the Detroit rally on his vision that he’s the “un-Trump:” the candidate best-positioned defeat President Donald Trump and unite the country.

“Because let’s face it — we have an angry, out of control, lawless president dividing the American people and abusing his office,” Bloomberg said. “And we just can’t afford another four years of this.”

Bloomberg touted both his record as mayor and a self-made entrepreneur, deriding President Trump as someone who inherited his wealth. He said that if elected president, he would raise the estate tax “to fight income inequality.”

Bloomberg also spoke in broad terms about tackling gun control, climate change, and “providing health insurance to everyone who lacks it, and lowering health costs for everyone else.”

Bloomberg has already spentmillions on Michigan TV ads, and is investing heavily to expand his campaign’s presence here and in other crucial swing states. The former Republican is portraying himself as a moderate and more electable alternative to the other Democratic candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden.

Glenn Belcher of Detroit attended Tuesday’s rally. He says he hasn’t committed to Bloomberg or any other candidate, but left the event feeling like Bloomberg is “a decent person.”

Belcher also liked that Bloomberg made gun control a central talking point. “I think the gun issue is very important,” he said. “We should put some kind of controls, or at least pay attention, to how a lot of these guns are getting into our community.”

Livonia resident Martha Carlton said she attended to get a better sense of Bloomberg as a candidate and a person.

“He seems like a really calming influence on people,” Carlton said. “He’s certainly been a success in business, and as mayor of New York.”

And while Carlton says she still hasn’t committed to a candidate, she was sold on one aspect of Bloomberg’s pitch: “I think he’s one candidate who can beat Trump.”

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Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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