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Mike Bloomberg apologizes for calling Cory Booker "well spoken"

Bloomberg denies "buying" Dem nomination
Mike Bloomberg denies "buying" the 2020 Democratic nomination 07:20

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is apologizing for referring to New Jersey Senator Cory Booker as "well spoken" during an interview with CBS This Morning Anchor Gayle King.

"Cory Booker endorsed me a number of times and I endorsed Cory Booker a number of times," Bloomberg told King. "He's very well-spoken. He's got some good ideas. It would be better the more diverse any group is. But the public is out there picking and choosing and narrowing down this field."

Bloomberg's "well spoken" remark drew criticism on social media, where some people accused him of using a racist trope to comment on Booker's intelligence. While campaigning on Friday, Bloomberg said that he "probably shouldn't have used the word," and reiterated that he's friends with Booker.

"I probably shouldn't have used the word, but I could just tell you he is a friend of mine," Bloomberg said. "He is a Rhodes Scholar, which is much more impressive than my academic background. I envy him."

In an interview with CBS News in Iowa on Friday, Booker said that he considers Bloomberg a friend and didn't want to "get into a critique" of the former mayor. But he said it wasn't the best way to speak "if you're going to try to really earn support of key parts of our constituency."

"We've got to make sure we got a nominee that doesn't have to have this stuff explained to them," Booker said. "And I don't want a perfect nominee either, because Lord knows things have come out of my mouth that I wish I could take back. I don't think there's a human being that can't say that. But then somebody will know enough to own up to it and address it."

Bloomberg was responding to remarks from Booker expressing concern about the lack of diversity remaining in the Democratic presidential field. After California Senator Kamala Harris dropped out of the race on Tuesday, Booker said it was concerning that a black female candidate didn't have the resources to compete when the Democratic Party "is significantly empowered by black women voters."

"It is a problem that we now have an overall campaign for the 2020 presidency, that has more billionaires in it than black people," Booker said in Des Moines on Thursday.

Tim Perry contributed to this story.

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