Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s White House campaign apparently found a way to generate attention on Tuesday night despite the fact its 2020 presidential election candidate was not on the primary debate stage in Iowa.
While the six contenders - Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren – clashed on stage, over the handling of the Iran crisis, trade deals and health care, among other issues, Bloomberg’s campaign reportedly published a string of unusual tweets along with a pinned message explaining the motive behind their gambit.
"The #DemDebate is tonight. Because Mike hasn't taken any campaign donations, he won't be on stage. But we're here on Twitter, tweeting stuff. Fun stuff. The very best stuff," the message said.
The #DemDebate is tonight. Because Mike hasn't taken any campaign donations, he won't be on stage. But we will be on Twitter, tweeting stuff. Fun stuff. The best stuff. So stay tuned for some premium content. pic.twitter.com/KuGt88Xb0X— Team Bloomberg (@Mike2020) January 14, 2020
Bloomberg’s official Twitter account fired off dozens of tweets embracing a ludicrously broad range of issues, ranging from what a potential Bloomberg presidency would entail to tattoo choices, Vicks VapoRub, telepathically with dolphins, snack food and others.
WHICH PODIUM SHOULD MIKE USE WHEN HE GETS HIS FIRST SHOT ON THE DEBATE STAGE?— Team Bloomberg (@Mike2020) January 15, 2020
25” single truss
Workshop series with frosted replacement panels
Maple with wheels and lockable storage area
Open back shelf mahogany pic.twitter.com/4wPOiwRO2f
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF THE BODY TO GET A BLOOMBERG 2020 TATTOO?— Team Bloomberg (@Mike2020) January 15, 2020
Snack food also featured prominently in the twitter feed.
Test your political knowledge:— Team Bloomberg (@Mike2020) January 15, 2020
SPOT THE MEATBALL THAT LOOKS LIKE MIKE. pic.twitter.com/CkzdgwpzdI
Most of the "fun" tweets indirectly touched upon the Democratic debate.
POLL TIME!— Team Bloomberg (@Mike2020) January 15, 2020
WHICH WILD ANIMAL WOULD BE MOST FUN TO RELEASE ONTO THE DEBATE STAGE WITHOUT WARNING?
The campaign’s tweets drew mixed responses from Twitter fans, with many wondering if it had been hacked.
@mikebloomberg If this tweet stream is a hack, fire the cybersecurity director. If it isn't a hack, fire the social media director. This is disrespectful to the Democratic nominating process. Should never have been tagged as "DebateFacts."— California for Bloomberg (@CA4Mike2020) January 15, 2020
th.... this isn't a parody account??— Cyberpunk 2077? (@OutboardGull52) January 15, 2020
Are you being held hostage? Tweet "YAAAAS QUEEEN!" if you're in danger— Happy Love Day, Everyone! (@Bearded_Hippo) January 15, 2020
Some ridiculed spending money on such “nonsense”.
Bloomberg wisely spending his billions of dollars on his own campaign I see pic.twitter.com/w4mrJzline— okcordero (@robcordero) January 15, 2020
Powerful argument for not letting anyone buy their way in. Product placement next ?— Justice John Marshall (@ChiefJohnMarsh1) January 15, 2020
You need to stop. This is cringeworthy. pic.twitter.com/Rnt6KCwNz8— Mr. Nick Charles (@MrNickCharles) January 15, 2020
Well you just lost any chance you had by these antics tonight. Disrespectful, immature and 2020 IS NOT A JOKE!— BigFatRu (@BigFatRu1) January 15, 2020
It’s hard to be less likable than the other Dems but you’re getting there.— hurl (@TheReal_Hurl) January 15, 2020
Other netizens just went with the flow of tweets and enjoyed them.
That’s actually funny. Keep it up👍👍👍— Tipping Odds Podcast. Mitch (@TippingOddsLV) January 15, 2020
This is great. I'm more inclined to support a campaign with a sense of humor.— Levi Boshnack (@Boshnackttack1) January 15, 2020
In the end, Joseph Marks, reporter for The Cybersecurity 202 newsletter at The Washington Post, went on Twitter to claim Bloomberg’s account had not been hacked after all.
“In case anyone's wondering, per a Bloomberg campaign spokesman this Twitter handle has not been hacked: "Thanks for checking in. We’re not compromised. Tonight, the Bloomberg 2020 social team is trying something fun tonight.""
In case anyone's wondering, per a Bloomberg campaign spokesman this Twitter handle has not been hacked: "Thanks for checking in. We’re not compromised. Tonight, the Bloomberg 2020 social team is trying something fun tonight." https://t.co/WsPpBnsGVd— Joseph Marks (@Joseph_Marks_) January 15, 2020
The “fun” tweets appeared to be an effort to distract attention to the Bloomberg 2020 campaign during the Democratic debate, which was the final such event before the Iowa caucus on 3 February.
The former New York mayor is not competing in Iowa or the three states following it after a late entry into the presidential race.
Candidates must have garnered the support of 225,000 unique donors and reached 5 per cent support in at least four DNC-approved polls or at least 7 per cent support in two single-state polls focused on Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada to qualify for Tuesday’s debate.
Media mogul Bloomberg is fully self-funding his campaign and thus did not qualify since he is not accepting any donations.