While the rest of the field is in Iowa for the nation's first Democratic nominating contest, Michael Bloomberg spent Monday traveling throughout California, making the case to voters that he's all-in on the state, and telling them he plans to put significant resources on the ground — including 800 paid and part-time staffers.
However, the former New York City mayor downplayed the significance of the state, which offers the biggest delegate prize of the "Super Tuesday" states that hold their elections March 3rd. He's also campaigning there as early voting began Monday. Still, Bloomberg told CBS News, "there's nothing magical about California and the first day of the Iowa Caucus."
"It just worked out in the schedule — there's no reason to have it on any one day. California is a very big state with a lot of delegates, so you'd obviously come here more," he told CBS News.
Bloomberg said he isn't worried about Monday night's results in Iowa, and added that he is more interested in traveling the country and talking to voters, not just in the Super Tuesday states, but also in the key battleground states Democrats need to win back to defeat President Trump. He also touted his own rise with voters, saying, "You see the crowds showing up. Just take a look at how many cameras there were on the stage."
On the trail, Bloomberg repeated his vow to support whoever the Democratic nominee was, and said the election was "too important," to not rally around the eventual nominee.
At a stop in Fresno, he called the president "a bully."
"As a New Yorker I've never run away from a bully or backed down from a fight." Bloomberg told the crowd. "I've been pretty blessed and there's nothing Donald Trump can do or say that can hurt me, but he has hurt a lot of people."
Still, Bloomberg told CBS News his criticisms of the president are not personal, and Trump is just "the wrong guy."
"I said in Philadelphia, go back and look at the tape. Philadelphia 2016, I said he was not the right guy for the job. I don't know how early I had to do it to convince you it was nothing personal. It was just — he's just the wrong guy. The way he treats people, the way he runs an organization and the way he makes decisions is not good for this country."
The Democratic National Committee (DNC), last week changed its requirements for participating in the Nevada debates, a move that many Democrats criticized because it seems likely tailored to Bloomberg. He said he's "very confident" that he meets the polling requirements to put him on the debate stage, but did not address criticism of the rule changes that would put him on the stage.
"I didn't ask [the DNC] to do it," he said.
for more features.