Feb 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bloomberg campaign says Tennessee vandalism "echoes language" from Bernie supporters

Photos: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg's campaign said Friday that vandalism at its Knoxville, Tenn., office "echoes language from [Bernie Sanders'] campaign and its supporters," even as it admitted that it didn't know who was responsible.

Why it matters: It marks a massive escalation in the war of words between the two Democratic presidential candidates that has spilled into the open over the last week — covering everything from their heart health to debate performances to electability.

What happened: The Tennessee office had profanities spray painted across its glass doors — along with posters reading Authoritarian," "Classist" and "Oligarch" placed on its windows, per Knox News.

What they're saying: "We don't know who is responsible for this vandalism, but we do know it echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters," Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said in a statement.

  • "Over the past week, we've seen similar attacks against Mike Bloomberg 2020 offices in multiple states. Fortunately, no one has been injured. But this needs to end before someone gets hurt."
  • "We call on Bernie Sanders to immediately condemn these attacks and for his campaign to end the Trump-like rhetoric that is clearly encouraging his supporters to engage in behavior that has no place in our politics."

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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.

Report: Sanders says he was briefed on Russia trying to help his campaign

Bernie Sanders at a press conference in Santa Ana, California on Feb. 21. Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders told reporters at a campaign stop Friday that he was briefed by U.S. officials "about a month ago" on Russia's attempts to assist his 2020 presidential campaign, AP reports. "It was not clear what role they were going to play," he added.

Driving the news: Sanders' comments followed a Washington Post report that U.S. officials briefed Sanders on Russian efforts to help his 2020 campaign "as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic contest."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bernie Sanders deactivates 2020 campaign Facebook ads

Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Editor's note: An earlier story inaccurately reported that Sanders was suspending his campaign. The correct story is below. Axios deeply regrets the error.

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign currently has no active Facebook ads, the morning after another disappointing finish in a series of primary contests.

Why it matters: A pause in digital advertising spend on Facebook has been a good indicator that candidates are dropping out of the 2020 race before. Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg made their Facebook ads inactive hours before they suspended their campaigns.