Bloomberg campaign stops in Glenwood Springs

Republican or Democrat, Michael Bloomberg is still Michael Bloomberg.

That’s what the former New York mayor’s campaign surrogate and partner Diana Taylor told an audience Monday in Glenwood Springs.

“He believes in healthcare for everybody at an affordable rate, he believes in combating climate change, he believes in education, he believes in all the things that I think everybody wants for themselves and their families,” Taylor said at a campaign stop in Glenwood Springs.

“The Republican Party has gone way to the right, and (Bloomberg’s) values are now more affiliated with the Democrats than they are with the Republicans. But he has not changed his values one iota,” she said.

The Garfield County Democratic Party has asked every presidential campaign to come to the county, but only Bloomberg’s campaign responded according to county chair John Krousouloudis.

Taylor, a banking industry executive and former New York superintendent of banking, who is also Bloomberg’s romantic partner of 20 years, recently stepped into the role of campaign surrogate. Monday’s informal stop at Morgridge Commons was one of several events on the Western Slope.

Many of the 50 people in the audience had already made up their minds for Bloomberg.

“As soon as I saw that he was in the race, I thought, ‘this guy’s built a business empire, he’s run New York City, I think he’s going to be really effective,’” said Eagle County resident Claire Noble, who as already mailed in her primary ballot.

“Running New York City for 12 years really, really, really impressed me,” said Chris Coyle of Carbondale.

Open questions

A frequent criticism of Bloomberg’s political record is his support of stop and frisk, and his comments defending them.

“The way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them,” Bloomberg said at a 2015 Aspen event, according to recently resurfaced audio from former Aspen Times journalist Karl Herchenroeder.

Bloomberg has apologized for the policy multiple times since announcing his campaign in November.

“Because I didn’t fully understand the unintentional pain it caused young black and brown kids and their families, I should have acted sooner and I should have stopped it, and I didn’t, and I apologize for that,” Bloomberg said at a Saturday campaign stop in Virginia, ABC News reported.

Taylor, responding to a question about the wisdom of apologizing for stop and frisk, defended the reasoning behind heavy policing of minority areas.

“New York City, and a lot of other cities, had a huge problem, and that was, the kids were dying in the street,” Taylor said.

“If you look at black and brown boys and young men, (guns are) the highest cause of death,” Taylor said.

Bloomberg looked at the fastest way to solve the problem, and decided that if you get guns off the street, they can’t shoot each other, according to Taylor.

“The fastest way to do that was through stop and frisk,” she said, adding that Bloomberg also addressed education and community issues, founding what eventually became President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program.

Getting to the White House

Bloomberg has been running a campaign against Trump while the other Democrats are focused on the early primary states, according to Taylor.

“Michael is everything (President Donald) Trump wants to be,” Taylor said.

But to get the nomination, Bloomberg will have to win big in the March 3 primary extravaganza known as Super Tuesday.

Bloomberg’s self-funded campaign has 10 times the number of people on the ground in Colorado as other campaigns, according to one staffer.

Colorado is one of 15 Super Tuesday states where candidates seek a big win March 3.

One attendee said he appreciated the event, but that he would still support Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the primary.

“It didn’t change my mind. I think Mike Bloomberg is a fair enough candidate, but I worry about two rich guys from New York City fighting in the battle for the presidency,” said Nick Kelly.

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