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Miriam Valverde
By Miriam Valverde March 3, 2020

Mike Bloomberg exaggerates his support for Obama in 2008, 2012

If Your Time is short

  • Mike Bloomberg defended Barack Obama in mid 2008 against attacks that Obama was anti-Israel.

  • Bloomberg did not endorse Obama in 2008.

  • Bloomberg endorsed Obama in 2012 in a post that included praise and criticism.

 

The fact that Mike Bloomberg hasn’t been a Democrat his whole life keeps coming up in his 2020 presidential bid.

At a CNN town hall, host Anderson Cooper asked Bloomberg why Democrats should trust him to lead their party. Bloomberg acknowledged his past as a Republican and an Independent. But he argued that he isn’t such a Democratic outsider if you look at who he supported.

"But if you want to know my Democratic credentials, I spoke for Hillary Clinton at the DNC Convention in Philadelphia in 2016," Bloomberg said at the Feb. 26 forum. "I certainly supported Barack Obama and Joe Biden, (Biden) says no, but I was there both times for them, thank you very much."

Was Bloomberg really there for Obama and Biden in their 2008 and 2012 campaigns for the White House?

It would be a stretch to say he was an enthusiastic Obama supporter. Bloomberg did not endorse Obama’s 2008 run, and while he did endorse him in 2012, that happened a week before the November election in an opinion piece that also criticized Obama’s record.

"Mike said he supported Obama both times. He voted for him both times," said Stu Loeser, a Bloomberg campaign spokesman.

RELATED: Bloomberg is registered as a Democrat, but is he accepted as one?

Bloomberg in June 2008: He defended Obama but stayed neutral

Obama’s 2008 bid was plagued with rumors that he was secretly a Muslim with anti-Israel views. Bloomberg, who is Jewish, flew to Florida in June 2008 to defend Obama. Bloomberg at that time was mayor of New York City.

The rumors about Obama were lies, Bloomberg told the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, "wedge politics at its worst, and we have to reject it — loudly, clearly and unequivocally."

Bloomberg told the audience he had not decided whom to support, the New York Times reported. When he was asked whether he would become an ambassador to Jews for Obama, Bloomberg said he would "speak out against intolerance for both candidates," including Republican nominee Sen. John McCain.

In a July 2008 speech to the Independence Party of Minnesota, Bloomberg spoke about both Obama and McCain, without picking a side. "Now, we're lucky this year: we have two candidates who have shown, on at least some issues, that they are capable of thinking and acting independently of the special interests," Bloomberg said.

Overall, Bloomberg delivered a largely neutral stance in 2008. He did not endorse either of the party candidates.

Bloomberg in 2012: He endorsed a ‘divisive’ Obama

Bloomberg endorsed Obama Nov. 1, 2012, in a Bloomberg.com post headlined, "A vote for a president to lead on climate change."

Bloomberg lauded Obama’s efforts to reduce carbon consumption, for setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, and for adopting tighter controls on mercury emissions.

But he also said Obama had not done enough to build a coalition of centrists, "which doomed hope for any real progress on illegal guns, immigration, tax reform, job creation and deficit reduction."

"And rather than uniting the country around a message of shared sacrifice, he engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it," Bloomberg wrote in his endorsement.

Loeser told PolitiFact that Bloomberg’s endorsement was "designed to flip or lock down voters who still hadn't committed to Obama-Biden by the last days of the campaign."

Our ruling

Bloomberg said, "I certainly supported Barack Obama and Joe Biden. ... I was there both times for them."

In 2008, Bloomberg defended Obama against attacks that he was anti-Israel, but Bloomberg did not endorse a presidential candidate that cycle.

In 2012, he endorsed Obama’s re-election in a post that mixed in criticism of his record.

Bloomberg’s statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context. We rate it Half True.

Our Sources

CNN Transcripts, Mike Bloomberg town hall, Feb. 26, 2020

Email interview, Stu Loeser, Bloomberg campaign spokesman, Feb. 27, 2020

Internet Archive - Wayback Machine, A Vote for a President to Lead on Climate Change, Nov. 1, 2012

City of New York, Mayor Bloomberg Proposes Taxpayers Stop Paying For Political Party Primaries In Address To The Independence Party Of Minnesota, July 25, 2008

The Hill, Stern lobbies with Bloomberg for healthcare reform, June 24, 2009

CNN, Bloomberg called Warren 'scary' and vowed to 'defend the banks' in closed-door 2016 event, Feb. 24, 2020

The New York Times, Bloomberg, in Florida, Blasts Rumor About Obama, June 21, 2008

NY Daily News, Mike Bloomberg vouches for Barack Obama with Jews in Florida, June 20, 2008

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Mike Bloomberg exaggerates his support for Obama in 2008, 2012

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