Michael Bloomberg is trying for a do-over in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate, previewing that he’ll turn his focus to newly minted front-runner Bernie Sanders after a much-criticized debut at last week’s face-off.
Seven Democratic candidates will meet in Charleston, South Carolina, for a last encounter before that state’s primary on Saturday, and it would benefit Bloomberg if the rest of the field also sharpened their attacks against Sanders.
South Carolina’s primary is the last of the February preliminary rounds before the 14-state Super Tuesday contest on March 3, which includes huge delegate prizes of California and Texas, as well as the populous states of North Carolina and Virginia. Sanders is leading or tied for a top place in many of those states, and Bloomberg and former Vice President Joe Biden are in a fight for runner-up.
The debate is sponsored by CBS and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and will be broadcast at 8 p.m Eastern time on Tuesday.
Last week, the former New York mayor was besieged by his rivals for the party’s nomination, who took him to task over his stop-and-frisk policing policies, allegations of a hostile work environment for women at his company and for self-funding his campaign at record levels.
(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)
Focus on Sanders
The debate comes as Sanders has solidified his standing after a decisive victory in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, a win in the New Hampshire primary and securing the popular vote in Iowa. That newfound strength means that Bloomberg will likely not be alone in piling on Sanders.
Bloomberg plans to deflect attacks on him over to Sanders, focusing on what many party leaders fear — that he would lose to President Donald Trump and hurt other Democrats on the ballot because he “appeals to a small base.”
“At the debate tomorrow night, and I think the campaign in general for folks in this race, needs to be about one candidate, and that’s Bernie Sanders,” Bloomberg states director Dan Kanninen told reporters on Monday.
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Source: Bloomberg via Yahoo