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Warren accuses Bloomberg of 'buying the election'

Washington

ELIZABETH Warren has accused former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg of trying to buy the 2020 election with millions of dollars in advertising to fuel his late entry into the Democratic race.

She delivered her message in an interview on Bloomberg Television from the company's headquarters in New York City. "I don't believe that elections ought to be for sale," she said.

"And I don't think, as the Democratic Party, that we should say that the only way you're going to get elected, the only way you're going to be our nominee, is either if you are a billionaire or if you're sucking up to billionaires."

Mr Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

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Ahead of the interview, she aired an ad on Bloomberg TV that took on the company's owner directly, accusing him of trying to buy the election to avoid paying higher taxes.

The ad portrayed her campaigning in Iowa telling a cheering crowd: "It's a lot cheaper to spend a few hundred mil just buying the presidency instead of paying the two-cent wealth tax." It featured visuals of Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman, with whom she has sparred.

Mr Bloomberg has spent US$59 million so far in ad time for his campaign, focusing on Super Tuesday states such as California, Texas and North Carolina, instead of the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Tim O'Brien, a senior adviser to the Bloomberg campaign, said in a radio interview in Pittsburgh that the former New York mayor was not buying the presidency.

"I don't think this, about the presidency for sale. If that was all this was about, you wouldn't have someone like Mike Bloomberg deeply committed to addressing things like economic inequality." BLOOMBERG

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