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SALT LAKE CITY — The morning after a challenging first Democratic debate where he came under fire from the other candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg rallied in Salt Lake City at the Venue 6SIX9 Thursday morning.
Positioning himself as a pragmatist with a real chance to defeat President Donald Trump in November, Bloomberg gave examples from his time as mayor to bolster his case.
He also sprinkled in some self-effacing humor to address what some saw as a shaky performance in Las Vegas Wednesday night, saying he was glad to finally be on a stage where people are "happy to see me."
"Now you've all heard the slogan, 'Mike will get it done.' And if you haven't, I've wasted an awful lot of money here," Bloomberg joked. He is self-funding his campaign, drawing criticism from some who view the billionaire as having purchased his rising poll numbers.
Bloomberg said "getting it done" means addressing climate change, gun violence, inequality, immigration, health care, and "protecting a woman's right to choose."
Bloomberg walks onstage in Salt Lake City. “Every time I come to Utah, I think, yep! This is the place.” pic.twitter.com/DoZ5Q09vuH— Graham Dudley (@DudleyKSL) February 20, 2020
"It won't be easy, but I know I can do it," he added. Bloomberg said he has a record of "reaching across the aisle and getting things done."
Bloomberg's most pointed barbs were for Trump, but he also took aim at Sen. Bernie Sanders, the national polling leader in the Democratic race. Bloomberg said it would be a "fatal error" for Democrats to nominate the self-described socialist, who he argued has too small a base to defeat the president.
"We need to nominate someone who can build a broad coalition that attracts voters from all across the spectrum," he said, blasting "pie-in-the-sky promises and proposals that will bankrupt the country."
The candidate has opposed policies like the "Medicare for All" championed by Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, preferring instead to build on the Affordable Care Act.
"The way to defeat Trump is with workable, sensible solutions to our biggest challenges," he said.
Bloomberg's speech was interrupted briefly by hecklers, who chanted "No Mike!" and were escorted from the room.
He described Trump as a "bully" often throughout the 15-minute speech. "But I'm a New Yorker, and I know how to deal with bullies," Bloomberg said. He called himself the "un-Trump."
"He is not going to bully me," Bloomberg said, "and I'm not going to let him bully you, either."
About 11:25 a.m., Trump tweeted a quote from the rally where Bloomberg said Trump was the "real winner" of last night's Democratic debate because of the contentious back-and-forth between the candidates. "Mini Mike Bloomberg," Trump wrote, "I agree!"
“The real winner last night was Donald Trump.” Mini Mike Bloomberg. I agree!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2020
Bloomberg promised the crowd that there would be "no tweeting from the Oval Office every day" during his presidency.
"It's easy for me to say that, since I can't spell," Bloomberg said. "But then again, neither can Donald."
Former Black Diamond Equipment CEO Peter Metcalf introduced Bloomberg, endorsing him and saying he will be a better steward of Utah's public lands than the Trump administration.
Bloomberg has also earned the endorsement of Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, who Bloomberg pointed to during his speech as proof that Democrats can run viable campaigns in Utah.