DEMOCRATIC presidential candidates launched an aggressive attack on billionaire candidate Mike Bloomberg on Wednesday night, as the former New York City mayor took to the debate stage for the first time.
In the days leading up to the debate at the Paris Theater in Las Vegas, Bloomberg’s fellow Democrats had taken shots at the billionaire for attempting to buy the nomination.
Michael Bloomberg came under first from his fellow Democratic candidates on Wednesday[/caption]
The contest was the first time the former Mayor of New York City had taken to the debate stag[/caption]
But on Wednesday night it was open season, with candidates taking aim at Bloomberg’s tax records, policies as New York Mayor, Republican past, and his treatment of women.
It was Senator Elizabeth Warren who first attacked the billionaire, drawing comparisons between Bloomberg and President Trump.
She said: “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians. And no I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”
She added: “I’ll support whoever the Democratic nominee is. But understand this: Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”
Warren also said that Democrats would not beat Trump “if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of supporting racist policies like red-lining and stop and frisk.”
It was then former Vice President Joe Biden’s turn to take a jab, offering a searing rebuke of Bloomberg’s police of stop-and-frisk while he was Mayor of New York, which he deemed “abhorrent.”
Bloomberg said the policy was already in place before he became mayor, but admitted that things went too far and he has since “asked for forgiveness.”
The former mayor was also targeted by the field for his past comments about women and the way they have been treated by his company.
In a heated exchange, Bloomberg said his company, Bloomberg LP, had “no tolerance for the kind of behavior the Me Too movement has exposed.”
Warren and Biden, however, quickly hit back, questioning the number of women who have worked for Bloomberg and have non-disclosure agreements that mean they cannot talk about alleged harassment and abuse in the workplace.
The pair then urged Bloomberg to release the women form their NDAs – a request the candidate declined.
Warren described the women as “muzzled,” but Bloomberg responded by saying, “They decided, when they made an agreement, that they wanted to keep it quiet for everyone’s interest.”
Elizabeth Warren was the first to attack Bloomberg, going on to question his past treatment of women and NDAs with former Bloomberg LP employees[/caption]
The former mayors record also came under fire from Joe Biden, who called the policy of Stop and Frisk abhorrent[/caption]
Bernie Sanders, the Democratic frontrunner going into the debate, questioned Bloombergs past as a supporter of Republican causes[/caption]
Later in the debate, Senator Bernie Sanders opted to attack Bloomberg’s Republican past, having endorsed President George W. Bush in 2004 and giving a large sums of money to Republican causes.
In the middle of his mayoral tenure, Bloomberg switched to become an independent before, in 2018, stating he was a Democrat and giving money to democratic causes.
Saunders said: “Maybe we can talk about a billionaire saying that we should not raise the minimum wage, or that we should cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.”
This, however, was not the only heated exchange between the Democrat’s frontrunner and newcomer.
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Bloomberg later seized on Sanders’ rising wealth: “The best known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses.”
Sanders defended owning multiple houses, noting he has one in Washington, where he works, and two in Vermont.
The debate was seen by many as the fiercest of the primary season, with Mayor Pete Buttigieg taking aim at Minnesota Senator Amy Kloubachar, Bloomberg and Sanders.
Buttigieg called Bloomberg and Sanders the two most polarizing figures on the stage, warning that one threatened to burn down the Democratic Party and the other was trying to buy it.
He clashed with Kloubachar on her previous policy decision that have impacted immigrants, which the senator then responded to by questioning the South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s experience.
While it was Bloomberg’s night of attention, voters won’t formally judge his performance for another 13 days.
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After deciding to skip all four contests in February, Bloomberg will not appear on his first presidential primary ballot until Super Tuesday.
The former mayor is not the only billionaire candidate left in the Democratic race, either – candidate Tom Steyer did not receive high enough polling numbers to appear in Wednesday night’s debate but is yet to drop out.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also remains in the race.
Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar clashed over the mayor’s experience and the senator’s policy record[/caption]
Bloomberg’s name will appear on ballots during the upcoming Super Tuesday[/caption]
Super Tuesday will take place on March 3[/caption]
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