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MSNBC Contributor Clashes With Bernie Campaign Co-Chair Nina Turner After She Blasts Bloomberg as an ‘Oligarch’

Bernie Sanders campaign co-chair Nina Turner blasted Michael Bloomberg tonight on MSNBC as an “oligarch” who believes he can “buy [his] way” into the election.

Chris Matthews asked her, “Do you think Mike Bloomberg is an oligarch?”

“He is,” Turner responded. He skipped Iowa. Iowans should be insulted… Buying his way into this race period. The DNC changed the rules. They didn’t change it for Senator Harris. They wouldn’t change it for senator booker. They didn’t change it for Secretary Castro.”

Apparently, MSNBC contributor and The Root politics editor Jason Johnson “had such a reaction” to that, as Brian Williams put it, and Johnson pushed back a bit on that criticism of the former New York City mayor.

“Calling Mike Bloomberg an oligarch has implications in this country that I think are unfair and unreasonable,” Johnson said. “I disagree with a lot of things Mike Bloomberg has done as a mayor. But oligarchy, in our particular terminology, it makes you think of some rich person who got their money off of oil in Russia, who is taking advantage of a broken and dysfunctional system. Mike Bloomberg is just a rich guy. America is full of rich guys. Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean that you’re an oligarch who abuses his power.”

He said Bloomberg got his power from “the voters of New York” and argued that this kind of rhetoric is “dismissive” and “unfair” and potentially “blows up in your face” come general election time.

Turner and Johnson faced off a few minutes later, with Turner saying, “It’s just ironic to me that somebody would defend the wealthiest people in this country over the working people in this country. We need real campaign finance reform to the extent that a Mayor Bloomberg can totally finance his campaign, he doesn’t have to go out to the people, he doesn’t have to build a movement, he doesn’t have to talk to people. He can buy his way.”

“Maybe Jason likes the word elite over oligarch, but it’s the same attitude the elites had in 1930 over FDR,” she added. “Cry me a river for the wealthy people in this country.”

“I have no problem criticizing the system. The system that allows Mike Bloomberg to make the money he makes… to buy what he wants to buy,” Johnson responded. “But to call him an oligarch is a misnomer in this environment. You’re working for somebody that’s part of the 1%. Do you call him an oligarch? No, you don’t. You say he’s a rich guy.”

You can watch above, via MSNBC.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac