Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has already poured hundreds of millions of dollars into his last-minute presidential bid, but the 2020 Democratic hopeful once described multimillion-dollar ad campaigns as “obscene” spending that would “annoy people.”

Bloomberg dismissed 2001 reports that he would spend upward of $30 million on his initial run for mayor in New York City. “At some point, you start to look obscene,” Bloomberg told New York magazine. “There’s a limited amount of ad time you can buy. It becomes dysfunctional; you annoy people with ads.”

Bloomberg went on to spend $73 million on his mayoral campaign, outspending his Democratic challenger Mark Green five-to-one. The billionaire defended his excessive ad buys during his 2005 reelection campaign, denying that the ads annoyed New Yorkers during a mayoral debate.