Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said he would take donations from Mike Bloomberg if he is the party's nominee. At a CNN townhall event Tuesday night, Buttigieg said Bloomberg is trying to buy the nomination and hasn't gone to diners "humbling" himself to voters.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN: So when you said you want to not be defined by who you reject, last hour, I don't know if you heard Senator Sanders, but he would not commit to accepting money from Michael Bloomberg if Michael Bloomberg is not the Democratic nominee. Right, he has pledged to help whoever is.
Would you take his money and his support if you are the nominee?
FORMER SOUTH BEND, IND. MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Sure. As a matter of fact...
BUTTIGIEG: Look, right now, obviously I'm competing against Mayor Bloomberg. We have, I think, different approaches and different visions. But his philanthropy supported a million dollar effort in our community to help low-income people get transportation to go to work. I'm not going to reject that help because it came from a very wealthy person. This is the moment to bring everybody that we can into this effort.
And I promise exactly one thing in return for any contribution, which is we're going to take that contribution and use it to go beat Donald Trump.
BURNETT: So, you know, you talk about something he did in your community, but obviously Amy Klobuchar has said Bloomberg is, her words, hiding behind his ad spending. Elizabeth Warren says he has bought his way on to the debate stage. Bernie Sanders has accused him of trying to buy the entire election.
Pretty simple question, yes or no. Do you think Michael Bloomberg is trying to buy the Democratic nomination for president?
BUTTIGIEG: Yes. Yes. I mean, what else do you call it? What else do you call it when you dip into your endless reserves of millions and billions and don't go through the process of campaigning in states like Nevada or Iowa or New Hampshire, humbling yourself, going into the diners and the backyards, looking eye to eye to voters?
Look, my campaign wouldn't exist if all that mattered was how much money and fame you start with and how you get yourself on the air. We built this thing from nothing. And we built it by having those conversations and letting voters pick apart what you have to say.
And to try to just go around that by throwing colossal sums of money on television, shows you what's wrong with our system. And I also believe it's not the best way to pick our nominee or the next president.