Feb 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden says Bloomberg's money can't "erase" his record

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Michael Bloomberg's vast fortune cannot "erase" his record, and that scrutiny of Bloomberg's positions on things like race and policing will ramp up now that he's in the national spotlight.

Why it matters: Biden's polling free fall in the wake of poor performances in Iowa and New Hampshire has coincided with a surge for Bloomberg, who appeals to a similar moderate bloc of the Democratic Party. The billionaire's limitless spending capacity poses an especially stark threat to Biden, who has struggled with fundraising.

  • Bloomberg is eating up Biden's leads in key Super Tuesday states, according to recent polling, most notably with black voters — a demographic whose long-standing support had given Biden a competitive advantage over all of his competitors.
  • But Bloomberg has yet to participate in a Democratic debate. A spot on the Nevada debate stage on Feb. 19 would subject him to scrutiny from other candidates, which he is also increasingly facing from the media.
  • On Saturday, front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders said Bloomberg cannot "create the energy and excitement" needed to defeat Trump, while also targeting the former mayor's record supporting "racist policies like stop-and-frisk."

The exchange:

CHUCK TODD: Are you concerned that $300 million has gotten Michael Bloomberg half your support among African Americans?
BIDEN: $60 billion can buy you a lot of advertising, but it can't erase your record. There's a lot to talk about with Michael Bloomberg. You all are going to start focusing on him like you have on me. ... You're going to focus on him. ... From stop-and-frisk to the way he talked about Obama."

Go deeper: Bloomberg's monopoly, Biden's market crash

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The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

Bloomberg suspends presidential campaign, endorses Biden

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to self-fund his 2020 presidential run, announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign after a poor performance on Super Tuesday and will endorse Joe Biden.

What he's saying: "I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden," Bloomberg said in a statement.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

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