Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg wilted under a barrage of withering criticism from his much taller Democratic rivals during his first appearance at a primary debate.
"Mini Mike," as the billionaire candidate is sometimes called, was attacked 10 times in the first 10 minutes of Wednesday's debate in Nevada. The gloves finally came off in what was by far the most exhilarating contest of the 2020 election cycle. "It was the Roman Coliseum, it was boxing in the 1950s," said MSNBC's Chris Matthews following the debate. "[Bloomberg] had no way to stop it."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) came out swinging the hardest, slamming Bloomberg over his history of degrading remarks about women. She compared him unfavorably to President Donald J. Trump, urging Democrats not to "substitute one arrogant billionaire for another." Later in the debate, she humiliated the former mayor over his treatment of female subordinates and the nondisclosure agreements signed by numerous former Bloomberg employees.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), the presumptive frontrunner, also lashed out at Bloomberg on a variety of issues. Sanders slammed the former mayor's "outrageous" law-enforcement policies, which "went after African-American and Latino people." He even went after Bloomberg's personal fortune (approx. $64 billion), calling it a "grotesque and immoral" concentration of wealth.
Bloomberg continued to struggle when former vice president Joe Biden attacked his lack of support for Obamacare. The former mayor claimed, unconvincingly, to be a "fan" of the health care law he once derided as "a disgrace." Biden also criticized Bloomberg's controversial policing policies and noted the Obama administration's opposition to them. Biden had previously criticized Bloomberg for campaign ads implying that former president Barack Obama had endorsed his candidacy.
Nevada will hold its Democratic caucus on Saturday before the race heads to South Carolina the following week.
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