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Democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg visits Phoenix, discusses platform

PHOENIX — Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday filed paperwork with Arizona’s secretary of state to run for president as a Democrat in next year’s primary election.

He also revealed his motivation for wanting to become the country’s 46th president.

“I’m running for president to beat Donald Trump,” Bloomberg said.

Addressing reporters at Rosita’s Place restaurant on McDowell Road in Phoenix, Bloomberg took credit for pushing for the closing coal-fired power plants and enacting tougher gun laws nationwide, which he says are against President Trump’s wishes.

Bloomberg doesn’t believe in Medicare for All.

“Doctors wouldn’t be able to make enough money to pay off their loans,” he said. “The hospitals couldn’t provide the services they want.”

He does believe in refining Obamacare, including restoring cuts to the program from the Trump administration.

Reporters also challenged Bloomberg on New York City’s old “stop and frisk” policy when he was mayor. Critics accused his police of racial profiling.

Initially, “stop and frisk” reduced murder and incarceration rates. But police got carried away.

“When we discovered that it was ineffective and we weren’t getting guns, we then started cutting back,” Bloomberg said, adding that he had moved on.

He also denounced big federal tax cuts from Republicans last year.

“It was ill-conceived,” Bloomberg said. “I thought the reduction in taxes for corporate America went a little bit farther than I would have [gone].

“But that was necessary so that we could compete.”

Bloomberg says a wealth tax “just doesn’t work,” later adding he raised taxes in New York during his mayoral tenure to pay for more police and teachers.

He considers Arizona a battleground state and is spending part of a $100 million package on a digital ad campaign here.

Bloomberg’s campaign invited eight community members to lunch at Rosita’s. They said they are undecided about whom they’ll support.

Carlos Velasco said he wasn’t so concerned about which candidate can defeat President Trump, but who — including the incumbent — could offer the best vision forward.

“If you’re coming in, what are you offering? What can you do to bring our country to the next phase?” Velasco was asking.

Lydia Guzman said Bloomberg listened carefully when hearing about her concerns for Arizona, instead of offering immediate solutions.

“If I wanted to know his platform, I would read his website,” she said. “He took his time and asked follow up questions to what we said.”

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