Michael Bloomberg's campaign is taking responsibility for a bizarre series of tweets that were sent out during Tuesday night's Democratic debate in Iowa.
While other 2020 primary candidates duked it out on the televised debate stage, Bloomberg's campaign Twitter account was busy firing off bizarre tweets about Pitbull songs, meatballs, and the ability to mentally communicate with underwater mammals.
Here's a sampling of what went out:
Mike can telepathically communicate with dolphins. #BloombergFacts #DemDebate— Team Bloomberg (@Team Bloomberg)1579056820.0
During the 1996 primaries, Mike Tyson bit off part of Pat Buchanan’s ear. #DebateFacts #DemDebate— Team Bloomberg (@Team Bloomberg)1579057407.0
Last year alone, Mike spent over $200 million dollars on scratch-off lottery tickets. #BloombergFacts #DemDebate— Team Bloomberg (@Team Bloomberg)1579057533.0
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF THE BODY TO GET A BLOOMBERG 2020 TATTOO?— Team Bloomberg (@Team Bloomberg)1579057950.0
WHICH @pitbull SONG SHOULD PRESIDENT BLOOMBERG ENTER A ROOM TO INSTEAD OF “HAIL TO THE CHIEF”?— Team Bloomberg (@Team Bloomberg)1579058591.0
Through Bloomberg philanthropies, Mike has directed more than $50 million to combat Meat Loaf’s views on climate ch… https://t.co/YPpbJfVrqD— Team Bloomberg (@Team Bloomberg)1579059365.0
Test your political knowledge: SPOT THE MEATBALL THAT LOOKS LIKE MIKE. https://t.co/CkzdgwpzdI— Team Bloomberg (@Team Bloomberg)1579050971.0
Mike has eaten clams casino for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the past 30 years. #BloombergFacts #DemDebate— Team Bloomberg (@Team Bloomberg)1579056846.0
Understandably, the highly unusual content of the tweets prompted questions about whether or not someone besides Bloomberg campaign staff was behind them.
Hacked, or the idgaf strategy over at Bloomberg’s campaign account? #DemDebate https://t.co/D5MdlouZiy— Azi™ (@Azi™)1579056930.0
Soooooo, looks like someone has hacked into Bloomberg’s account?? Or someone on his staff is hilarious... https://t.co/miGDtVCrXx— Jory Rand (@Jory Rand)1579059578.0
Has...Mike Bloomberg's campaign account been hacked? https://t.co/yS5XdYspWR— Brittany L. Shepherd (@Brittany L. Shepherd)1579057241.0
However, despite all the questions and speculation about whether the account had been hacked, a statement from a campaign spokesman said that they hadn't been compromised and that "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… https://t.co/EjU3df8CEp— Joseph Marks (@Joseph Marks)1579056728.0
If the goal was to siphon some of the attention away from the debate stage that Bloomberg wasn't on, it would appear that they managed to succeed. Whether that attention will do anything to help the candidate's nomination chances remains to be seen.
Despite his current polling performance, Bloomberg wasn't at Tuesday night's debate because he is not taking outside campaign donations and therefore did not clear the individual donor threshold. This self-funded, no-debate strategy has drawn criticism from some Democrats, according to a story Politico detailed earlier this month.
"When you have that much money, you have incredible power that comes with it. With that power, you're able to shape the outcomes to tilt to your advantage," Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign manager Faiz Sahkir told the outlet. "And that's what he's trying to do with this election, is say: 'I'm going to swoop in late. I'm not going to do grassroots campaigning. I'm not going to come to these debates. I'm not going to do town halls. I'm not going to answer questions. What I am going to do is try to buy this damn thing.'"
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has said that Bloomberg is "skipping the democracy part" of the Democratic primary because of his campaign approach.