The Michael Bloomberg Twitter account circulated a doctored clip the morning after the Nevada debate, edited to make it look like the former New York mayor had a winning moment in an otherwise panned debate performance.
In the video, Bloomberg turns to the row of his fellow candidates and asks: “I’m the only one here, I think, that’s ever started a business, is that fair?”
In the doctored video, the candidates appear to be rendered mute by the question. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) stare blankly ahead, mouths agape. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) raises her hand halfheartedly and puts it down again. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) hangs her head, while former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg wears an expression of amused panic. A soundtrack of cricket noises plays in the background.
Here’s the heavily-edited Bloomberg video:
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 20, 2020
In the actual exchange, Bloomberg asks the question of his peers and holds for about a second before saying “okay” and moving on with his answer. Relative to the rest of the debate, the moment was a good one for Bloomberg, and earned him some chuckles from the debate audience.
Here’s the actual debate moment:
Moment Bloomberg campaign altered in post-debate video pic.twitter.com/bPZVGGC2L0
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) February 20, 2020
The comment came as Bloomberg was forced on the defensive by a NBC’s Chuck Todd’s question about a comment the billionaire made linking the 2008 financial crisis to the end of redlining bias in home loans. Redlining is the practice where banks marked off neighborhoods populated by people of color, declining to give them loans for home ownership and depriving the areas of investment.
Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen told TPM that “[The video] is tongue in cheek. There were obviously no crickets on the debate stage.”
The campaign did not address questions about the decision not to label the video as an edited clip, or if the doctored video will be used in any of the TV ads currently blanketing the Super Tuesday states.