(Bloomberg) -- Elizabeth Warren accused former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg of trying to buy the 2020 election with millions of dollars in advertising to fuel his late entry into the Democratic race.

Warren delivered her message in an interview on Bloomberg Television from the company’s headquarters in New York City.

“I don’t believe that elections ought to be for sale,” Warren said. “And I don’t think as a Democratic Party that we should say that the only way you’re going to get elected, the only way you’re going to be our nominee, is either if you are a billionaire or if you’re sucking up to billionaires.”

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Ahead of the interview, she bought an ad to air on Bloomberg TV that took on the company’s owner directly, accusing him of trying to buy the election to avoid paying higher taxes. Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg have raised money from Wall Street and Silicon Valley donors at posh fundraisers. Warren has eschewed such events in favor of small, mostly online donations.

The ad portrayed Warren campaigning in Iowa telling a cheering crowd, “It’s a lot cheaper to spend a few hundred mil just buying the presidency instead of paying the two-cent wealth tax.” The ad featured visuals of Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman, with whom she has sparred.

Bloomberg has spent $59 million so far in ad time for his campaign, focusing on the Super Tuesday states such as California, Texas and North Carolina, instead of the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Tim O’Brien, a senior adviser to the Bloomberg campaign, said the former New York mayor was not buying the presidency, according to KDKA, a CBS station in Pittsburgh.

“I don’t think this, about the presidency for sale. If that was all this was about, you wouldn’t have someone like Mike Bloomberg deeply committed to addressing things like economic inequality.”

On other topics, Warren said:

  • Warren insisted she was a “capitalist” but said the U.S. economy worked better for the rich and big corporations. Her solution is her 2% wealth tax on assets over $50 million, which says is ultimately about how the U.S. ought to allocate the cost of making the country work and investing in the middle and working class.
  • She reiterated that her costly plans would not exacerbate the U.S. deficit because the rich and the big corporations would pay for the spending increases.
  • Warren said President Donald Trump was destroying markets and America’s value around the world with his trade actions. Warren promised “a coherent plan for anybody who wants access to American markets.” She supported putting diplomatic and economic pressure on China.

(Updates to add Warren’s other comments after ninth paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou in Washington at megkolfopoul@bloomberg.net;Joe Weisenthal in New York at jweisenthal@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, John Harney

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