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Bloomberg’s Night In One Word: Yikes

LAS VEGAS — The Bloomberg is off the rose. The billionaire former New York City mayor had spent his way towards the front of the Democratic presidential pack, skipping the indignities of campaigning in the early states or actually facing his opponents, while deluging the national airwaves with positive spots. But then the debate came…

Bloomberg’s Night In One Word: Yikes

LAS VEGAS — The Bloomberg is off the rose.

The billionaire former New York City mayor had spent his way towards the front of the Democratic presidential pack, skipping the indignities of campaigning in the early states or actually facing his opponents, while deluging the national airwaves with positive spots.

But then the debate came — and the former mayor was turned into a piñata by a squad of more seasoned politicians itching to get their shot at him. Suddenly, a candidate who’d been getting buzz as the last, best hope for moderates to stop Bernie Sanders looked like a candidate adrift. And while it’s unclear how much debates will slow his rise in the polls ahead of Super Tuesday’s critical contests in two weeks, if Bloomberg is going to be the Democratic nominee, he’ll have to handle himself a lot better.

It didn’t take long for his opponents to dump the opposition research book on his head, from his controversial policing record to his comments that the end of redlining — a policy that hurt black and brown families’ ability to accumulate wealth — caused the 2008 financial crisis, to his 2004 endorsement of George W. Bush’s reelection campaign and funding of GOP candidates as recently as 2016.

READ: Elizabeth Warren went beast mode on the debate stage

Bernie Sanders used the first debate question of the night to slam Bloomberg for his “outrageous” stop-and-frisk policy. Joe Biden chimed in to say Bloomberg’s policies threw “close to 5 million young black men up against the wall” — and that he’d fought the Obama administration’s efforts to curtail the deeply divisive policy.

Amy Klobuchar followed up by hitting Bloomberg for “hiding behind his TV ads” and for his campaign’s call for her and other more moderate candidates to drop out to let him emerge against Sanders, insinuating it was sexist and arrogant.

But their attacks were nothing compared to the body blows Elizabeth Warren unleashed on Bloomberg.

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She opened up the debate by slamming Bloomberg as “a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians.” Later, she pushed him into a tortured defense of why he won’t release multiple women from non-disclosure agreements they signed with his company. Bloomberg stammered through a defense, claiming the NDAs were “consensual” while refusing to say how many women had accused him or others at his company of sexual harassment.

READ: Bloomberg’s answer on sexual harassment were pretty stunning

“None of them accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like the joke I told,” he said flippantly.

He didn’t do much better in explaining why he hadn’t released his tax returns yet.

“I can’t go to TurboTax,” he said to groans, arguing that because he was so wealthy with so many holdings he needed time to put them together.

“We’re releasing them, they’ll be out in a few weeks, and that’s just as fast as I can do it.”

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