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Bloomberg called Warren 'scary,' knocked Obama's first term in leaked audio

Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergBiden selects Gina Raimondo for Commerce chief: reports 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics NFL, politics dominate 2020 ratings MORE attacked the progressive left and appeared to suggest that Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyImpeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history MORE (R-Utah) could have made a better president than former President Obama in audio obtained by CNN.

In audio from a private 2016 event obtained by CNN's KFile, the former mayor suggested that Romney would have made a better president than Obama in 2012 had the Republican candidate pledged to govern as he did while governor of Massachusetts.

"The second Obama election I wrote a very backhanded endorsement of Obama," Bloomberg said in 2016 of his prior endorsement of Obama for reelection. "Saying I thought he hadn't done the right thing, hadn't done, hadn't been good at things that I think are important and Romney would be a better person at doing that. But Romney did not stick with the values that he had when he was governor of Massachusetts."

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A spokesman for the Bloomberg campaign told CNN in response to the reported comments that Bloomberg was making an "important" point about his work to convince moderates to support Obama.

"Regarding President Obama, he was making an important point," said Bloomberg's spokesman. "Everyone who read Mike's endorsement of President Obama saw that it was aimed at convincing Americans who saw merit in both candidates to vote for Obama."

"What Mike could and did do for President Obama is much like what he could and did do for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFor Joe Biden, an experienced foreign policy team Millennials and the great reckoning on race Biden chooses Amanda Gorman as youngest known inaugural poet MORE when he spoke at the Democratic Convention in 2016 — convince Americans who weren't already convinced of voting for the Democrat," the spokesman added.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Bloomberg quipped that any campaign he launched for president would be about his desire to "defend the banks," a comment a Bloomberg spokesman told CNN was made in jest.

"Well, to start, my first campaign platform would be to defend the banks, and you know how well that's gonna sell in this country," Bloomberg apparently joked.

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Joking or not, the former mayor also took aim at his fellow 2020 contender Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPorter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Nine, including former Michigan governor, charged over Flint water crisis | Regulator finalizes rule forcing banks to serve oil, gun companies | Trump admin adds hurdle to increase efficiency standards for furnaces, water heaters DeVos mulled unilateral student loan forgiveness as COVID-19 wracked economy: memo MORE (D-Mass.), a top critic of the U.S. banking system, with a more serious tone in his speech.

"The left is arising. The progressive movement is just as scary," Bloomberg said in the audio. "Elizabeth Warren on one side. And whoever you want to pick on the Republicans on the right side?"

Bloomberg faced heavy criticism from Warren and other Democratic candidates in last week's Democratic debate over his past comments critical of ObamaCare and the Obama administration as well as policies he pursued during his tenure as mayor of New York City, including stop and frisk. He remains a top contender in several upcoming primary states.