Presidential candidate and Democratic fundraiser Tom Steyer announced in an interview Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that his campaign has collected enough donations to pass the threshold to appear in next month's debate if he registers in a certain number of polls.
TOM STEYER: I have a simple message, and it's this. We have a broken government. There's been a hostile corporate takeover of our government and I'm here to return to government of, by, and for the people. I've been an outsider for ten years, organizing coalitions of ordinary American citizens to take on unchecked corporate power. For ten years we've been beating those corporations and winning. And that is my message. That is job one, to take back the government from the corporate -- the corporations who bought it.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC: And it's a similar message, as you know, Tom, to someone like Senator Elizabeth Warren or Senator Bernie Sanders who have been railing against corporations and corporate money in politics. How will you be different from them?
TOM STEYER: Well, I think that the big difference is this, that I'm an outsider. That I have been doing it from the outside successfully for ten years. If you look at the other people who are running for this nomination, they're overwhelmingly insiders. The top four people are all senators or former senators who have more than 70 years combined in the Congress and the Senate of the United States.
So I think there's a big question for all Democratic voters. If job one is to take back the government from corporations, do you think it's going to come from someone who's a grassroots activist and who's been doing it from the outside successfully, or do you think an insider, somebody who's been working inside the beltway for years is actually going to change D.C.?
WILLIE GEIST: You can hear, as we sit here speaking, the criticism coming from Senator Warren or Senator Sanders that says it's a little rich for a billionaire, a guy who worked at Goldman Sachs and started an investment firm that made him a billionaire, talking about the interest of corporate power in America. How will you respond to that?
TOM STEYER: Well, I would say for ten years we've been taking on their right to buy the government.
It's not that I don't believe in the private sector, Joe. I'm someone who believes that the American economy is powered by the private sector. But what I know is this. I don't want them writing the rules for how they behave at the expense of the American people. And we've taken on oil companies and drug companies and tobacco companies and beat them in the polls. And if you look to see who in the united states has done grassroots work, organizing people to go door-to-door, registering millions of Americans, changing the turnout for people under 30 by more than 100%, actually it's me. Everything that they're talking about doing is what I've actually been doing around the country for the last ten years.