Feb 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sanders and Bloomberg, both 78, battle over heart health

Photos: Alex Wong/Getty Images; Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders' presidential campaigns sparred Wednesday over which 78-year-old is in better cardiac health.

The big picture: The line of attack comes as Sanders, the race's current frontrunner, is set to meet Bloomberg, who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make a splash in the race, face-to-face for the first time on the debate stage in Nevada.

The state of play: Sanders' national press secretary Briahna Joy Gray told CNN that Bloomberg "has suffered heart attacks in the past."

  • Bloomberg senior adviser Tim O'Brien hit back on Twitter, calling the statement "a Trumpy lie from the Sanders campaign, which rolls like Trump in many ways."
  • Bloomberg released a letter from his doctor last year, which featured no mention of a heart attack but did note that he underwent coronary stent placement surgery in 2000.
  • Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said in a statement that the surgery occurred after a positive stress test and has been "public for years" since Bloomberg, who holds a pilot's license, had to inform the FAA when it occurred.
  • Gray later walked back her statement about Bloomberg on Twitter, stating that she "misspoke" and that he "underwent the same stent procedure as Bernie."

The other side: Sanders suffered a heart attack last October that briefly sidelined him from the campaign trail.

  • The Vermont senator released letters from his primary physician and two cardiologists late last year stating that he "has the mental and physical stamina to fully undertake the rigors of the presidency."
  • Sanders said this week that he was unlikely to disclose any additional medical information, stating that he has already put forth "quite as much as any other candidate has," reports The Hill.

Go deeper: Bernie Sanders released from hospital following heart attack

Go deeper

Bloomberg releases heart health data, says Sanders should do the same

Mike Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders. Photos: Joe Raedle/Getty Images; Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg released new information on his heart health Thursday and called on his rival Bernie Sanders to do so as well.

Why it matters: The development, first reported by CNN, continues a public feud between the two candidates, both of whom are 78 years old. The move appears to be an attempt by Bloomberg to make Sanders' health a central issue in the Democratic contest.

What to watch in the Nevada debate

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Cengiz Yardages and Mario Tama/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg's wealth will fuel rather than shield him from tests and attacks when he makes his Democratic primary debate debut on the stage tonight in Las Vegas.

The state of play: Bernie Sanders is still the front-runner. So the other candidates must weigh which of the two presents a bigger threat to their viability: Sanders, with his combined delegate, polling and grassroots momentum? Or Bloomberg, with his bottomless budget?

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

What to watch in tonight's Democratic debate

Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Colorado. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

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.