NBC News Affiliate: Bloomberg 'Might Have a Tough Time Winning Over Some Iowans'

December 5, 2018

An anchor at an NBC News affiliate in Iowa said former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a potential 2020 presidential candidate, "might have a tough time winning over some Iowans" because of his past negative comments about ethanol.

NBC Des Moines anchor Dan Winters said Bloomberg, who is mulling a 2020 bid, tried to offer a more positive take on ethanol during a trip to Iowa this week. The former mayor, however, has been a long-time critic of corn-based ethanol and the federal subsidies that help ethanol production. Iowa is the number one producer of ethanol among all states in the United States.

Back in 2007, Bloomberg told MSNBC that "unless what you're trying to do is to help the people of Iowa and I don't, that may very well be a good idea but you can't do it as part of the environmental part of policy."

Bloomberg made several stops across Iowa this week, including one at a community college in Ankeny that trains students to work on wind turbines. During the visit, he shifted his previous views on ethanol to a more positive approval.

"I think that ethanol and biofuels are part of a mix. There's a place for it. I think eventually you'd like to get to a world where we don't burn anything. That's the way that you really clean the air the most," Bloomberg said.

He went on to say people could argue ethanol isn't bad for the environment.

"You could make the argument that ethanol is neutral, because when the corn is growing, it takes CO2 out of the air and then when it's used, it puts some back. So there is the argument that it is basically a neutral thing rather than just gasoline where you just take it out and we burn it," Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg signaled he was thinking about a presidential run when he announced in October that he was formally changing his voter registration to the Democratic Party. He previously maintained an independent status following his exit from the Republican Party in 2007.