After the spotlight initially fell on former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was on stage for his first debate after buying ads left and right since his late entry into the race, Warren proceeded to destroy him on national television.
Following a brief back-and-forth between Bloomberg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren, the anti-billionaire, interjected: "I'd like to talk about who we're running against: A billionaire who calls women 'fat broads' and 'horsey-faced lesbians.' And no, I'm not talking about Donald Trump. I'm talking about Mayor Bloomberg." She also came for him when it comes to "racist policies like stop and frisk and redlining."
There have been nearly 40 sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits brought against Bloomberg and his media empire over the years.
Warren's dismantling of Bloomberg over his treatment of women was one of the most precise and devastating political attacks I have witnessed in twenty years of following this stuff— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 20, 2020
Warren came in third place in the Iowa caucuses and fourth in the New Hampshire primary, so the upcoming contests in Nevada and South Carolina — places with large communities of colour — will be even more crucial for her. With her no-holds-barred dressing down of Bloomberg, Warren showed that she came prepared, and that she's ready to get back into the headlines after being ignored by mainstream media.
She later went after Bloomberg for the NDAs (nondisclosure agreements) he had his employees sign, which Bloomberg unconvincingly responded were "signed consensually" and "maybe they didn’t like a joke I told." With that, she made a statement for the #MeToo movement at the debate.
"There is a rich policy debate over NDAs and how to address the veil of secrecy over sexual harassment," Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women's Law Center and cofounder of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, tweeted during the debate. "The debate stage did not actually include that conversation. I'd rather hear more about their plans to address what actually is a systemic problem. #MeTooVoters deserve better." Warren added, "Second, Bloomberg referred to harassment as "jokes" that someone didn't like. That's not a small deal and deserved a real time deeper dive over how to define harassment and what to do to address a culture and institutions that dismiss it. Reporters, this follow up is important."