Mega-billionaire Michael Bloomberg was in the spotlight during the Las Vegas, Nevada, Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday night. As his star and poll numbers have been rising (undoubtedly partially thanks to an overwhelming amount of spending on ads — and memes), he's also sustained criticism from the left for discriminatory policies such as "stop and frisk" and "redlining" from his days as New York City mayor. He also answered questions about the nearly 40 sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits brought against him and his media empire over the years.
The other 2020 candidates running for office have not held back when it comes to Bloomberg. Former Vice President Joe Biden has questioned his status as a Democrat (Bloomberg switched his registration to run for NYC mayor as a Republican in 2001 — and switched back to Democrat about, uh, a minute ago), and others have accused him of trying to buy his way to the nomination. After Bloomberg made the debate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted that "at least now primary voters curious about how each candidate will take on Donald Trump can get a live demonstration of how we each take on an egomaniac billionaire."
On-stage on Wednesday: Bloomberg, Biden, Warren, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Bernie vs. Bloomberg takes an unexpected turn.
The debate kicked off with Bernie vs. Bloomberg. In the first question of the night, NBC’s Lester Holt asked Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist democratic, how his “revolution” will beat Bloomberg’s. But, it was Elizabeth Warren who stole their big moment. “I'd like to talk about who we are running against: a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse faced lesbians,” she said. Warren called out Bloomberg, whose billionaire status is a huge issue for multiple candidates on stage. It was her first big “a-ha!” moment of the night, but set the tone for a fiery debate.
Elizabeth Warren name checks every candidate on health care.
Warren, who set the tone for a fiery debate, proceeded to call out every single candidate’s health care plans, saying that even Amy Klobuchar’s was practically a post-it note of details. She took particular offence saying that “post-it notes were invented in my state!”
Bloomberg's failed #MeToo moment is put on blast.
"I hope you heard what his defence was — 'I've been nice to some women'." Warren calls out Bloomberg after he brags about his company's high-rated work space and calls out #MeToo offenders in one fell swoop. Warren immediately clapped back and called for women who are under non-disclosure agreements at his company to be able to come forward. Ultimately, other candidates got in on the conversation demanding that Bloomberg allow the women out of their non-disclosure agreements, but he was fairly unprepared to address the issue.
Warren comes to Klobuchar's defence and it's absolute GIRL POWER.
After Buttigieg harped on Klobuchar forgetting the name of Mexico's President, Warren came to her defence and said that this little faux pas is not the same as having in-concrete policies and plans like some of the other candidates on stage.
For all the folks who are shocked that Steyer and Klobuchar didn't know the President of Mexico's name, simmer down.— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) February 15, 2020
There's a guy in the Oval Office right now who doesn't even know who the President of Puerto Rico is.
Warren brings up environmental justice.
"For generations now in this country, toxic waste dumps and polluting factories have been located in or near communities of colour," Warren said.
Um, should billionaires exist?
The question that everyone except Bloomberg has been waiting for finally comes up: should billionaires exist? Klobuchar says she believes in capitalism, but it's an unbalanced system. Sanders, to no surprise, completely denounces the existence of billionaires and calls Bloomberg "immoral" for being one. Obviously, when the question comes to him, Bloomberg defends himself saying that a lot of the money he makes is donated back into the country's infrastructure. Reminder that Bloomberg is currently worth $61.8 billion (£47.8b), and is the richest person to ever run for president.
Bernie is more of a millennial than Pete.
When asked why Bernie Sanders was connecting more with young voters than Pete Buttigieg, who is actually a millennial, he replied saying: "Actually, I liked Bernie before it was cool." Even top millennial former candidate, Andrew Yang, is feeling the Bern.
Klobuchar stands by DREAMERS, and Pete replies in Spanish.
"I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete." Klobuchar and Pete are going head-to-head (again) and this time it's over the DREAM Act. Klobuchar voices support for immigrants in the US and Buttigieg claps back, saying that she cannot possibly make that case if she's voted for the most Trump judges out of all the Democratic candidates. There's a moment where Buttigieg tries to call her out in Spanish, but Klobuchar quickly retorts, saying, "You just memorised a bunch of talking points."
Candidates each made their final case in closing statements.
Amy Klobuchar: "You need someone who has the heart to be President."
Mike Bloomberg: "This is a management job."
Pete Buttigieg: "The only way we can do this is to create a sense of belonging in this country. We cannot afford to lean on the same Washington playbook."
Elizabeth Warren: "Give me a chance, I'll go to the White House and fight for your family."
Joe Biden: [who was interrupted by very load protestors] "I think it's important that on day one that we deal with sending an immigration bill to the desk."
Bernie Sanders: "Real change never takes place from the top down. We need to mobilise millions of people to stand up for justice."