In the same interview, Mr. Bloomberg also expressed skepticism about the #MeToo movement in general, as well as the specific allegations of sexual misconduct against Charlie Rose, the disgraced anchor who for many years broadcast his show from the offices of Mr. Bloomberg’s media company.
Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, S.C., said in an interview that he spoke with Mr. Bloomberg in late October, and the two discussed the unfolding presidential race. Mr. Benjamin, a Democrat who has not taken sides in the primary, predicted Mr. Bloomberg’s background as a businessman and mayor, and his stances on climate and guns, would make him a formidable contender if he runs.
“There’s a lot of work to be done in gearing up for the first four primaries and caucuses, and certainly for Super Tuesday, but I would caution anybody not to underestimate Mike Bloomberg,” Mr. Benjamin said.
Ms. Raimondo, the Rhode Island governor, stopped short of backing Mr. Bloomberg as a presidential candidate but issued a glowing statement about his record.
“While this is not an endorsement, Michael Bloomberg is a friend and I admire his track record as a successful business leader and mayor who finds practical solutions to some of America’s biggest challenges, from creating good jobs to addressing the opioid crisis and fighting for common-sense gun safety,” Ms. Raimondo said.
But several likely Iowa caucusgoers, in interviews on Thursday night at an event for another candidate, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, expressed a lack of enthusiasm for a potential Bloomberg candidacy.
“This is a rigorous thing, to run for political office,” said Janny Miller, 65, of Des Moines. “For somebody to step in late — while he probably has a lot to offer — maybe it’s not the right thing to do.”