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

Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergDNC books million in fall YouTube ads Former Bloomberg staffer seeks class-action lawsuit over layoffs Bloomberg spent over 0M on presidential campaign MORE attacked the progressive left and appeared to suggest that Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOutgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' Trump selects White House lawyer for coronavirus inspector general Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill 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 ClintonWe need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Poll shows Biden with 6-point edge on Trump in Florida Does Joe Biden really want to be president? 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 WarrenOn The Money: Trump officials struggle to get relief loans out the door | Dow soars more than 1600 points | Kudlow says officials 'looking at' offering coronavirus bonds Overnight Energy: Trump floats oil tariffs amid Russia-Saudi dispute | Warren knocks EPA over 'highly dangerous' enforcement rollback | 2019 sees big increase in methane levels in air Ex-CFPB director urges agency to 'act immediately' to help consumers during pandemic 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.