Some of former President Barack Obama's ex-aides say Mike Bloomberg's ads touting his relationship with the former president are giving off the wrong impression.
"The saturation level of media that Bloomberg is running penetrates in a way that the others have not," David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to Obama, told The Wall Street Journal.
Obama has declined to endorse a candidate in the 2020 Democratic primary, though Bloomberg's new 30-second ad titled, "Difference," hawks his work with Obama on gun violence and education.
The ad shows clips of Obama calling Bloomberg a leader "throughout the country for the past 12 years."
Obama and Bloomberg shared "a working relationship" on issues like climate change, said Axelrod, but were not close on a personal level.
"They certainly weren't best buds," he said. "It does speak to the power of Obama with Democrats. Everyone wants to have an ad like this."
"It's jarring to see all these Bloomberg ads that suggest Obama has endorsed him, especially considering how . . . perfunctory his endorsement of Obama was back in 2012," Pod Save America host and former Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor tweeted Tuesday.
Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for Bloomberg's campaign, told the Journal that Bloomberg admired Obama.
"From the moment Mike first met then-Sen. Obama in November 2007, he knew he'd be a singular force in American history," Wood said.
"While Mike has never been shy to critique Washington dysfunction or partisan division, he believes that President Obama showed extraordinary leadership in the White House," Wood said.
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