WATCH: Warren attacks Bloomberg over his record with women

1010 WINS Newsroom
February 25, 2020 - 9:05 pm
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Democrats unleashed a roaring assault against Bernie Sanders’ electability and seized on Mike Bloomberg’s past with women in the workplace in a raucous debate Tuesday night that tested the strength of the two men leading their party’s presidential nomination fight.

Sanders, his status as the Democratic front-runner undeniable, faced the brunt of the attacks in a fierce round of early action.

Even Sanders' ideological ally, Elizabeth Warren, questioned the Vermont senator's ability to lead the nation.

“Bernie and I agree on a lot of things, but I think I would make a better president than Bernie,” Warren charged.

Sanders, under attack for much of the night, noted the additional attention: “I’m hearing my name mentioned a little bit tonight. I wonder why?”

The new wave of infighting came as Democrats met for the party's 10th — and perhaps most consequential — debate of the 2020 primary season. Tuesday's forum came just four days before South Carolina's first-in-the-South primary and one week before more than a dozen states vote on Super Tuesday.

The intensity of Tuesday's clash, with candidates repeatedly yelling over each other, reflected the reality that the Democrats’ establishment wing is quickly running out of time to stop the polarizing progressive. Even some critics, Bloomberg among them, conceded that the Vermont senator could build an insurmountable delegate lead as soonas next week.

The Democrats' 2020 class will not stand side-by-side on the debate stage until the middle of next month, making Tuesday’s debate the best, and perhaps last, chance for some candidates to save themselves and alter the trajectory of the high-stakes nomination fight.

Bloomberg was the focus last week for his highly anticipated debut, but after a bad performance that froze his momentum, the knives were out for the 78-year-old Vermont senator.

The night marked a bitter-sweet high point of sorts for Sanders' decades-long political career.

After spending nearly three decades as an outside agitator who delighted in tearing into his party’s establishment, that same establishment was suddenly fighting to take him down.

Yet Warren saved her fiercest attacks for Bloomberg.

She cut hard at Bloomberg’s record as a businessman, bringing up reports of one particular allegation that he told a pregnant employee “to kill it,” a reference to the woman’s unborn child. Bloomberg fiercely denied the allegation, but acknowledged he sometimes made comments that were inappropriate.

Bloomberg “cannot earn the trust of the core of the Democratic Party,” Warren said. “He is the riskiest candidate standing on this stage.”

Bloomberg denied the exchange from the pregnant employee.

Turning toward Sanders, Bloomberg made the case that both Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are in lockstep in their belief that Sanders would make the weakest Democratic general election rival for the incumbent Trump. Last week, Sanders acknowledged that he’d be been briefed by intelligence officials who said that Russia is attempting to interfere in the elections to benefit him.

“Vladimir Trump thinks Donald Trump should be president of the United States and that’s why Russia is helping you get elected so you lose to him,” Bloomberg said.

Sanders shot back, "Hey, Mr. Putin, if I’m president of the United States, trust me you’re not going to interfere in any more American elections.’”

Biden was also looking to make a big impression in South Carolina, where he was long viewed as the unquestioned front-runner because of his support from black voters.

Biden slammed Sanders for his support of the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, legislation that protects gun manufacturers and sellers from laws that attempt to hold them liable for dealing firearms that end up in the hand of criminals.

“My friend to my right, and others, have in fact also given in to gun manufacturers absolute immunity,” said Biden, referring to Sanders backing of the controversial gun legislation. “Imagine if I stood here and said, ‘We give immunity to drug companies. We give immunity to tobacco companies.' That has caused carnage on our streets. "

Sanders proudly highlighted his “D minus” rating from the pro-gun organization. And just last week, several gun control advocates who survived the Parkland, Florida, school shooting endorsed him.

Also a factorTuesday: Billionaire activist Tom Steyer, who has borrowed heavily from his personal fortune to fuel a strong push in South Carolina, where he's threatening to peel away some of Biden's support with state's black voters. Rivals Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar are also fighting to win over moderates while decrying Sanders' chief policy priorities.

Sanders' handling of the pressure could be crucial in determining whether he stays at the top of the Democratic pack.

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Peoples reported from Washington.

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