Multiple media outlets, pundits, and publications are calling Bloomberg the “loser” of his first debate.
Loser: Mike Bloomberg
Up until Wednesday, Bloomberg’s campaign had been a grand experiment. It eschewed the typical marks of a political campaign — public events, speeches, actual interactions with voters — in favor of an unprecedented ad blitz funded by the former mayor’s seemingly unlimited personal fortune.
Bloomberg has spent more than $400 million of his own money on political ads. As my Vox colleague Ezra Klein noted, “if you ignore Tom Steyer, the other self-funding billionaire chasing the Democratic nomination, Bloomberg has spent more than three times as much as all the other Democratic candidates combined.”
The big question underlying Bloomberg’s campaign has been whether it’s possible to win the Democratic nomination — and potentially the presidency — by muscling out the competition with massive amounts of money. He arrived at the debate with a target on his chest and spent the evening taking incoming attacks.
When he got a chance to respond to Warren’s opening, he had no real answer, instead launching into a generic speech about how he can beat Trump because, among other things, Bloomberg is a “New Yorker.”
The harsh take on Bloomberg’s performance is that a billionaire seeking to paper over his record with truckloads of money is simply not the candidate Democrats are looking for in 2020. The more charitable take is that campaigning is a learned skill, and it’s hard to compete with five grizzled veterans if you’ve spent the bulk of the 2020 primary season buying ads. Whichever take you believe, Bloomberg had a terrible night.
Mike Bloomberg has been declared the loser of Democratic debate after Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders relentlessly attacked the former New York mayor over his past ‘racist’ policies and treatment of women.
Six candidates took the stage Wednesday night in Las Vegas to face-off for a 5-to-1 face-off that ended disastrously for Bloomberg.
Pundits chose Bloomberg as the loser after he became the object of scorn, ridicule and contempt within the first five minutes of the debate.
What is becoming an increasingly bitter nomination fight, the Democratic presidential candidates focused their attacks on Bloomberg on the debate stage.
He has spent more than $400million so far on advertising that in turn has given him strong standing in state and national polls.
Sanders recalled Bloomberg’s support of stop-and-frisk policing targeting minorities while Warren spoke about how Bloomberg had mocked women.
‘I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,’ Warren said.
The losers: Michael Bloomberg and Amy Klobuchar
Bloomberg struggled throughout the debate to make a positive case for his candidacy, instead spending most of his time defending his comments about women, apologizing for stop and frisk, and disputing various claims made about his record.
Every candidate on stage took multiple opportunities to attack Bloomberg. Former Vice President Joe Biden noted that Bloomberg at one point called the Affordable Care Act “a disgrace,” rejected the Obama administration’s efforts to reign in his policing tactics in New York, and was elected mayor as a Republican.
Sanders tore into Bloomberg for donating to the campaigns of Republican members of Congress, Buttigieg called Bloomberg and Sanders the two “most polarizing figures on this stage,” and Klobuchar accused Bloomberg of “hiding behind his campaign ads.”
Senior editor for “The Root,” Jason Johnson, concluded that the biggest loser of the Democratic debate in Las Vegas Wednesday was Michael Bloomberg, but not merely because of his debate performance.
“The big new name was going to be Michael Bloomberg,” he said. “This was probably the most expensive night in Vegas I’ve ever seen. He lost everything. This guy has spent $320 million. He had the opportunity to stand on stage, and appear to be an equal, and he looked bored. He looked disenchanted. He stumbled over obvious questions that anybody would have anticipated about sexual harassment and stop and frisk. I thought it was a bad night for him.”
CNN’s Van Jones:
This was a disaster for Bloomberg. Bloomberg went in as the Titanic, billion-dollar machine Titanic. Titanic meet iceberg Elizabeth Warren. She took him to task in a way that I had never seen in a debate. She took it over. She prosecuted him. But the worst part about it is for me, a lot of African-Americans are placing great hope in Bloomberg. Despite the stop-and-frisk and all that sort of stuff, you’re seeing people trying to move over there and he just wasn’t ready.
He was tone-deaf on issue after issue. And the reason why, he’s not been in the living rooms, he hasn’t done the town halls. Attacking people — oh, I have too much money for TurboTax, this is a great answer? A lot of people watching use TurboTax.
His answer on women was terrible. He got completely destroyed on the NDA question. His answer on stop-and-frisk was as bad as it could be. And then he basically lied on the answer when it came to redlining. On every major thing that people who are looking for a champion, just when they see some contrition and some professionalism, he let people down tonight.
The Bloomberg bubble might have popped
It’s hard to imagine how the first debate for the former New York City mayor could have gone much worse for him.
Bloomberg knew his rivals would be coming at him for his stop-and-frisk policies as New York mayor and over allegations that he’s overseen a toxic workplace for women.
But Bloomberg didn’t have adequate responses for either, leading to excruciating exchanges that ended poorly for him.
Warren opened the night with an absolute haymaker.
“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,” Warren said. “Democrats will not win if we have a nominee with a history … of harassing women and supporting racist policies like redlining and stop and frisk. … Democrats take a huge risk if we substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”
Later, Warren came back for more, demanding that Bloomberg release women who have worked for him from the nondisclosure agreements they signed. After several rounds of back and forth, Bloomberg ceded the exchange with an eye roll.