The Democratic Debate Turned Debacle

Mike Bloomberg, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar at the Democratic debate in Las Vegas on February 19, 2020. Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s response to attacks we all knew were coming.

Commentary By Leona Dunn

On stage  February 19, 2020 in Las Vegas were former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Former Vice President Joe Biden, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

The NBC Nevada Democratic Debate was vicious.

The ninth debate had six contenders, although there are still eight people running to be the democratic nominee.

What the democratic candidates collectively called Trump on Wednesday, February 19th was nothing compared to what they called each other. The Nevada debate was a full-blown attack on each of the candidate’s moral character, health, and electability.

Senator Elizabeth Warren started the attack on the former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, after media companies assumed it would be a fight between Bloomberg and the new front runner Senator Bernie Sanders.

Not even ten minutes into the debate Warren said “I’d like to talk about who we are 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 compared Bloomberg to Trump saying he was disrespectful towards women and supported racist policies. She also said he was hiding his tax returns which we learned later on in the debate was not true.

Bloomberg did not attack any of the candidates outside of claims towards their electability. But a statement released in a memo from his campaign manager said Bloomberg is just getting started.

Warren called Bloomberg ‘another arrogant billionaire’.

On ‘Stop and Frisk’, – Bloomberg’s most controversial enforced policy- which did reduce crime in New York underneath his leadership as mayor but also targeted black and brown man to be subjected to random searches based on assumption, Bloomberg apologized.

The policy was called unconstitutional by U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, after over 4 million stops were made in less than eight years starting in 2004.

Warren said Bloomberg’s apology could be way better than that.

When Bloomberg was asked about his tax returns, something Warren said he was hiding at the beginning of the debate, Warren’s hand shot up to comment along with Klobuchar’s, Biden’s, and Sander’s.

Bloomberg said his tax-return would be out in a couple of weeks saying “Fortunately, I make a lot of money, and we do business all around the world. And we are preparing it. The number of pages will probably be in the thousands of pages….. We’ll be releasing them. They’ll be out in a few weeks. And that’s just as fast as I can do it. Remember, I only entered into this race 10 weeks ago. All of my associates here have been at this for a couple of years.”

Buttigieg slid in a comment saying “That’s right, we have. Engaging with voters and humbling ourselves to the backyards and diners.”

While Warren remarked “10 weeks ago, pay overtime, and get it done.”

But Warren was not done.

Earlier, Bloomberg said that everyone on the stage has made mistakes when it comes to criminal justice reform, which is correct. So when a Me-too question was directed toward Bloomberg, Warren was ready to ask him about something she has proudly never been accused of- Sexual Harassment.

Warren told the audience Bloomberg has several nondisclosure agreements, asking for transparency she set up a proposal that the business mogul release all the women from those agreements live on-air. Biden, and Buttigieg jumped in to encourage Bloomberg to do so.

This moment may have been the most dramatic one of the night.

In lament terms, Bloomberg said no. After being asked a total of five times, Bloomberg said that none of the agreements were against him, they all happened with employees within his company and then repeated that the non-disclosures would stay disclosed.

Sanders attacked Bloomberg on donating to republican senators. They then exchanged blows over who truly wrote the tax code. When Sanders asserted that the country should work for everyone and not just billionaires like Bloomberg, Bloomberg replied “What a wonderful country we have. The best known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses. What did I miss here?”

Biden came for Bloomberg on his initial rejection of Obamacare.

Klobuchar spoke up on why she believed his tax returns could come out sooner.

Buttigieg called Bloomberg and Sanders polarizing figures of the party.

But during and after the debate twitter went wild with meme’s of mainly clashes between Warren and Bloomberg.

Bloomberg left the debate on a humorous note saying ‘Well, you can join me at mikebloomberg.com, too, if you want, but I’m not asking for any money.’

He reached out to shake Warrens hand seconds after the debate was over, in which she firmly shook back.

It was reported shortly after that Bloomberg lost the debate, but I think it’s clear that in this argumentative clash of opposing policies and low blows from all candidates, where President Trump was a side note and not the focus of attack, no one really won.

 

Leona Dunn is a graduate student at American University where she is receiving her Masters in Broadcast Journalism. She is a Tennessee State University Alumni and a former Tennessee Tribune intern.

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