Bloomberg debate debacle spurs Democratic hand-wringing – By Amie Parnes (The Hill) / Feb 20 2020
Democrats are having second thoughts about Mike Bloomberg after he fell flat in his debate stage debut.
Before Wednesday night’s performance — which Democrats across the board labeled “terrible” and “pathetic” — many in the party were hopeful the former New York City mayor would emerge as a strong competitor to front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who continues to gain momentum.
But Bloomberg’s debate implosion left a lot to be desired.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone look worse in a debate,” said one Democratic strategist who is a veteran of presidential campaigns. “Sometimes it seemed like he wasn’t on stage, sometimes he seemed out of touch, sometimes he seemed like he hadn’t prepped. It was a combination of bad.”
Democratic strategist Christy Setzer said it “just goes to show that having unlimited money and the most talented team in the world doesn’t matter if you refuse to do basic preparation.”
“That’s how it read to me: that Bloomberg believed he was above preparation even on the most obvious lines of attack. No wonder best-student-in-class [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren [D-Mass.] utterly crushed him,” Setzer added.
During the debate, Warren pummeled Bloomberg, painting him as a misogynist and an out-of-touch billionaire.
“Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of during his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist policies like redlining stop and frisk,” the Massachusetts senator said during the debate. “Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”