Not a great night for Mike Bloomberg or the fractured Democratic Party.
Five of the six Democratic contenders on the Las Vegas stage spent the night launching withering attacks on Bloomberg in a wild shootout of a debate that exposed the simmering tensions within the party.
Bloomberg didn’t help himself with some flippant answers that will come back to haunt him.
Asked about the nondisclosure agreements signed by some female employees at his company, Bloomberg said, “None of them accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.”
The crowd visibly gasped at the answer while Elizabeth Warren — who just days ago put herself out as the great unifier of the party — launched the strongest attacks on Bloomberg of anyone on stage.
“Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another,” Warren said in one of several roundhouse blows aimed at Bloomberg.
Warren didn’t stop there — going after Pete Buttigieg and even Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s health care plans, referring to Buttigieg’s plan as a “PowerPoint presentation” and Klobuchar’s plan a “Post-it note.”
Slumping in the polls and trying to recover from her disastrous fourth-place showing in New Hampshire, Warren took wild swings at her opponents all night.
But Bloomberg was the real center of attention as he battled with his feuding opponents over everything from health care to socialism to Bloomberg’s vast wealth.
“You know what Mr. Bloomberg, it wasn’t you who made all that money, maybe your workers played some role in that as well,” Sanders said.
“I can’t think of a way that would make it easier for Donald Trump to get re-elected than listening to this conversation,” Bloomberg responded. “This is ridiculous. We’re not going to throw out capitalism. We tried that, other countries tried that and it’s called communism and it didn’t work.”
At one point, a fuming Bloomberg and Sanders argued over who had the most houses.
“The best known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses, what did I miss here?” Bloomberg asked sarcastically.
“Where is your home, which tax haven do you have your home?” Sanders shot back.
“New York City, thank you very much and I pay all my taxes,” Bloomberg responded.
Buttigieg tried to distinguish himself — and at times did it very well — portraying himself as a centrist.
“We’ve got to wake up as a party,” Buttigieg said. “We could wake up two weeks from today … and the only candidates left standing will be Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg, the two most polarizing figures on this stage.”
Buttigieg also took flak from Klobuchar, standing next to each other and flailing away.
It was an ugly night all around for Democrats, and Trump had to be smiling if he was watching.
Democrats have a long way to go to unify their party and defeat Trump, and that was the real takeaway from this debate.
(c)2020 the Boston Herald
Visit the Boston Herald at www.bostonherald.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.