Mike Bloomberg had a different plan for his second debate: buy it.
A 60-second ad for the billionaire media mogul’s campaign played during the first and second commercial breaks of the CBS Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday night — drawing the ire of pundits on Twitter.
Viewers lashed into CBS for allowing Bloomberg to buy advertising slots during the first two debate commercial breaks, calling it “incompetence at best, corruption at worst.”
“What kind of rule allows the candidates to advertise *during* the debate? Or did Bloomberg just buy CBS?” asked New Yorker writer Tad Friend.
Ok why the hell is there a Bloomberg ad on during the debate? How is this not a campaign finance law violation?” wrote one Bernie Sanders volunteer.
Bloomberg, 78, has spent more than $500 million of his vast $65 billion fortune in campaign advertising, flooding TV networks with ads and dwarfing the spend of his rivals.
Other viewers were dubious about the lively audience who cheered when Bloomberg spoke and loudly booed Bernie Sanders — dozens of people accusing the ex-Big Apple mayor of stacking the audience.
A Bloomberg source denied the allegations and said each campaign was allotted the same number of tickets by the Democratic National Committee.
They also denied allegations members of the audience were paid.
“I can’t explain the nature of the cheers and boos unless @CBSNews allowed the audience to be filled with a paid cheering section for Bloomberg — and also broadcast Bloomberg ads in the middle of the debate,” wrote Max Kennerly.
It is outrageous and we all need to think of how to sanction CBS for it,” he continued, demanding CBS explain who bought tickets to the debate.
“So Bloomberg has paid cheerleaders at the debate and CBS let that happen?” addedanother person.
DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said tickets were divided between the campaigns, South Carolina Democratic Party, Congressional Black Caucus Institute, CBS and Twitter.
“We invited local and community leaders, and DNC supporters,” she wrote on Twitter. “This is the most diverse audience.”