democratic primaries

As Bloomberg Rises, Democratic Candidates Go On the Attack

Michael Bloomberg. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Voters in Nevada will not be able to caucus for Michael Bloomberg this weekend and the billionaire’s name will not be on the ballot in South Carolina next week. But the former New York City mayor’s outlandish spending in recent months, and his subsequent appearance near the top of some national polls, has many of his Democratic rivals focusing their attacks on him anyway.

This weekend, nearly every other Democratic candidate called out Bloomberg by name for issues ranging from allegations of misogyny to his support of stop-and-frisk.

“Sixty billion dollars can buy you a lot of advertising, but it can’t erase your record,” Joe Biden said on Meet the Press. “There’s a lot to talk about with Michael Bloomberg.”

“You take a look at the ‘stop-and-frisk’ proposals. You take a look at his ideas on redlining he’s talking about. You take a look at what he’s done relative to the African American community. I’m anxious to debate Michael on the issues relating to, you know, what we’re going to face in Super Tuesday.”

Bloomberg hasn’t qualified for Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Nevada, but he has until the end of Tuesday to do so.

On Fox News Sunday, Pete Buttigieg said Bloomberg is going to have to answer for his history of sexist comments and behavior. “Obviously there is no comparison to this President and the way that he has treated and talked about women and people of color and continues to do so to this day,” Buttigieg said. “But we in our party hold ourselves to the highest standard. And it is going to be critical for us to have a nominee who can authentically lead and who can show growth on these challenges.”

Amy Klobuchar focused her Bloomberg criticism on his avoidance of the media. “I don’t think you should be able to hide behind airwaves and huge ad buys. He has to come on these shows,” she said on CNN. “And I also am an advocate for him coming on the debate stage.” Klobuchar repeated the same criticism of Bloomberg on two other Sunday shows.

Elizabeth Warren has gone after Bloomberg for a variety of reasons. Last week, she said Bloomberg’s remarks from 2008 blaming the financial crisis on the end of redlining should disqualify him from getting the Democratic nomination. “That crisis would not have been averted if the banks had been able to be bigger racists,” she said. “And anyone who thinks that should not be the leader of our party.”

Like many of his fellow candidates, Bernie Sanders has criticized Bloomberg for his outsized spending on the election.

“He thinks he can buy this election,” Bernie Sanders said in Nevada. “Well, I’ve got news for Mr. Bloomberg — the American people are sick and tired of billionaires buying elections.”

Bloomberg has largely refrained from returning fire, but his campaign did hit back at Sanders Monday with a video criticizing the behavior of the Vermont Senator’s supporters.

Later Monday, Bloomberg and his campaign also accused Sanders of deploying “the very same attacks and tactics” as President Trump against the former mayor. Sanders soon responded by tweeting out a friendly photo of Trump and Bloomberg:

This post has been updated to include the latest exchange between the Bloomberg and Sanders campaigns.

As Bloomberg Rises, Democratic Candidates Go On the Attack