Reality Check: Bloomberg spends hundreds of millions on mostly true statements
You can’t turn on the TV, check Facebook or watch a video online without seeing Michael Bloomberg.
The democratic hopeful has spent more than $450 million on ads, many of which talk about his successes in his time as mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013. One shows off his relationship with former President Barack Obama, though the former commander-in-chief has not endorsed anyone in the 2020 race.
ALL RIGHT you all have seen just about nothing but @MikeBloomberg on TV lately. He’s spent hundreds of millions on ads, but how accurate are they? Time for a #News3Now #RealityCheck. (And P.S. @BarackObama has not endorsed anyone yet) pic.twitter.com/PehmnoOgIM
— Amy Reid (@amyreidreports) February 24, 2020
Claim: “He’s the only democrat who’s run the largest and most diverse city in America, rebuilding after 9/11, creating over 450,000 jobs…”
Reality Check rating: Mostly true
Bloomberg is the only former mayor of New York City in the race, and he was in office three months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Depending on how you crunch the numbers, there were more than 450,000 jobs created between Dec. 2001 (immediately before Bloomberg took office) and Dec. 2013 (Bloomberg’s last month in office).
Bloomberg’s team cites the New York State Department of Labor for his numbers. New York City’s seasonally adjusted total employment was 3.6 million in Dec. 2002 (one year into his term) and 4.08 million in Dec. 2013. The difference there is 472,700, in concurrence with his claim of more than 450,000 jobs.
Those numbers start a year later than we did, but we wanted to see his numbers from when he entered office, so we started in 2001, when the New York State Department of Labor puts total nonfarm jobs at 3.71 million in the city. By the end of 2013, total nonfarm jobs were around 4.02 million. The difference between the two dates was 314,900 jobs, which is below what Bloomberg said. However, if you don’t count the years when job numbers went down, thereby isolating “created” jobs (his claim), the number is around 567,000 jobs, well over his claim of 450,000 jobs.
Claim: “…expanding healthcare coverage to 700,000 people…”
Reality Check rating: mostly true
Politifact already looked into this claim. They checked the U.S. Census Bureau data on uninsured New Yorkers, which was at 1.8 million in 2001 and 1.1 million in 2013, a difference of 700,000. The Politifact crew also talked with some health advocates and officials in New York, who are hesitant to give credit to city-level efforts for the increase in covered adults. It is worth noting that New York State Medicaid expansion was also passed during Bloomberg’s tenure. Since we cannot credit him for the healthcare coverage increase but the numbers do check out, we rated this mostly true.
Claim: “Mayor of New York, rebuilding the city after the 9/11 terrorist attack…”
Reality Check rating: N/A
We feel it’s important to note that in that time, the Associated Press uncovered a New York City police operation that targeted minority populations to find evidence of terrorist activity. The AP reported the police had informants known as “mosque crawlers” who would monitor Islamic sermons. Bloomberg has not apologized for this like he has for the controversial Stop-and-Frisk policy.
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