Michael Bloomberg's latest presidential campaign ad features footage of several former presidents and the current occupant of the Oval Office, but it does not show the man paying for the ad. Bloomberg's new "Bring Presidential Back" spot compares some of President Trump's more vulgar moments to soaring speeches from John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
To be fair, soaring rhetoric isn't really Trump's thing, and it isn't Bloomberg's strong suit, either. But Trump likes to pantomime being "presidential" as stiff and boring, and Bloomberg's ad reminds viewers that past presidents could thrill with their words while elevating the dignity of the office. In another ad released over the weekend, Bloomberg takes aim at what Trump believes to be his strongest card, the economy. Again, Bloomberg only makes a brief cameo at the end.
It's unusual for a presidential candidate, especially in a primary race, to make ads that don't feature the candidate — but there's very little that's conventional about Bloomberg's run. He has already spent $310.4 million on digital and TV advertising this year, more than the $115.3 million spent by all the other Democrats combined, Axios reports, and he also outspent all the other candidates combined in the last quarter, plus both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee.
"Bloomberg is betting that enough exposure — through a $300m+ ad campaign and a non-traditional run that looks past the early four states — will make him competitive in Super Tuesday, and make all Democrats stronger in the general election," Axios explains. "He's blowing through cash to create a parallel (or bigger) unofficial, uncoordinated party infrastructure in case the DNC can't help the eventual Democratic nominee enough in states that should be competitive with Trump."