Feb 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sanders takes aim at Bloomberg: "Trump will chew him up and spit him out"

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders told CBS "60 Minutes" that he was surprised by Mike Bloomberg's lackluster performance at Wednesday's Democratic debate.

What he's saying: "If that's what happened in a Democratic debate, you know, I think it's quite likely that Trump will chew him up and spit him out."

Watch the video:

The exchange:

Anderson Cooper:  "Were you surprised by how unprepared he seemed for some very basic, obvious questions at a debate in Nevada?"
Bernie Sanders: "Yes, I was. I was. And if that's what happened in a Democratic debate, you know, I — I think it's quite likely that Trump will chew him up and spit him out."
Anderson Cooper: "Are you less worried about Michael Bloomberg? If you were worried about him before, are you less worried now after having that debate?"
Bernie Sanders: "I am worried about an unprecedented amount of money being spent on a campaign. And — you know, we've never seen anything like this in American history. And I just think though that the American people will rebel against this type of oligarchic movement. We are a democracy. One person, one vote. Not a guy worth $60 billion buying an election."

Why it matters: Bloomberg's Democratic rivals zeroed in on him at his debate debut.

  • Bloomberg didn't directly address Sen. Elizabeth Warren's portrayal of him as racist and sexist.
  • When Warren asked the former mayor to release women from nondisclosure agreements that barred them from publicly sharing their allegations, Bloomberg said, "Maybe they didn't like a joke I told."

Go deeper: Bloomberg's baggage, and barrage

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Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg apologized during a "60 Minutes" interview broadcast Sunday "if somebody was hurt" by language he's used in the past.

Details: CBS' Scott Pelley pressed the former New York City mayor on passages from a "tongue-in-cheek" 1990 booklet by his employees, titled "The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Bloomberg," which contained crude comments purportedly said by him.

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What to watch in tonight's Democratic debate

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Bernie Sanders is now the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his opponents are ready to try to knock him down at tonight's debate in Charleston, South Carolina — especially Michael Bloomberg, who was the punching bag at the Las Vegas debate.

Why it matters: This is the last debate before Super Tuesday, when Sanders is expected to win California and Texas and could secure an insurmountable lead for the Democratic nomination. That's a direct threat to the entire field, but especially to Bloomberg, who skipped the early states to focus on the March 3 contests.

Bloomberg's debate backfire could seal it for Bernie

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg got into the 2020 race to stop Bernie Sanders and socialism. If he doesn't bounce back from this week's debate, he may seal the deal for both.

Why it matters: Bloomberg’s own campaign has warned that Sanders could lock up the nomination in mere weeks, thanks to rivals splitting the opposition vote. But Bloomberg’s own spending makes it harder for other rivals to cut through — and virtually assures he sucks up significant delegates.