Right out of the gate, Mike Bloomberg faced a barrage of attacks from all sides Wednesday night in his first Democratic presidential debate debut in Las Vegas.
The former New York City mayor made a late entry into the race in November has surged in polls thanks to his unprecedented spending. In the past three months, Bloomberg has spent over $340 million of his own money on a tidal wave of television and social media ads across the country.
Sen. Bernie Sanders was given the first chance to whack Bloomberg during the opening question when asked how his “revolution” is a better bet to defeat President Trump. The Democratic Socialist used the question to lash out at Bloomberg’s “outrageous” policing practice during his tenure as mayor would suppress turnout among minorities.
“In order to beat Donald Trump we’re going to need the largest voter turnout in the history of the United States,” Sanders said. “Mr. Bloomberg had policies in New York City of stop and frisk, which went after African-American and Latino people in an outrageous way. That is not a way you’re going to grow voter turnout.”
Bloomberg was given the chance to respond, immediately hit Sanders on his health care plan, saying the country can’t threaten to take away health care for 160 million Americans.
“I don’t think there’s any chance of the senator beating President Trump,” Bloomberg responded. You don’t start out by saying I’ve got 160 million people I’m going to take away the insurance plan that they love. And if he goes and is the candidate, we will have Donald Trump for another four years.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a fight for survival, came out guns blazing by attacking Bloomberg for his demeaning comments about woman.
“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse faceless lesbians. I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg,” Warren said. “Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women and of supporting racist policies like red lining and stop and frisk.”
She added that she would support Bloomberg if he were to become the Democratic nominee, but it would be a “huge risk” in substituting “one arrogant billionaire for another”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar jumped in on the assault, by charging him for being sexist after seeing his campaign memo that suggested she “should get out of the way” to “pave the way” to become the democratic nominee.
“I looked at the memo from his campaign staff this morning, and it said that he actually thought that three of us should get out of the way,” Klobuchar said. “That is what his campaign said because we should ‘pave the way; for him to become the nominee. You know, I have been told as a woman, as someone that maybe no one thought was still going to be standing up on this stage. I’ve been told many times to wait my turn and to step aside. And I’m not going to do that now.”
Rather than firing back to an avalanche of attacks, Bloomberg responded by making the case of his own electability.
“I think we have two questions to face tonight: One is who can beat Donald Trump and, number two, who can do the job if they get into the White House. I would argue that I am the candidate that can do exactly both of those things,” Bloomberg said. “I’m a New Yorker. I know how to take on an arrogant con man like Donald Trump who comes from New York.”
He continued, “I’m spending that money to get rid of Donald Trump, the worst president we have ever had. If I can get that done, it will be a great contribution to America and to my kids.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden went after Bloomberg’s response to argue that the former mayor “didn’t get a whole lot done” in New York besides using stop and frisk to throw “5 million young black men up against a wall.”
“The mayor says that he has a great record, that he’s done these wonderful things,” Biden stated. “Well, the fact of the matter is, he has not managed his city very, very well when he was there. He didn’t get a whole lot done. He had stop and frisk, throwing close to 5 million young black men up against a wall.”