Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg locked horns on political philosophy in Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate, arguing over who’s a communist and who’s a socialist.
Their bickering over Bloomberg’s billions and Sanders’ millions descended into a fight over who owned more homes during a contentious debate where the entire stage of candidates ganged up on the former New York City mayor and the Vermont senator found himself a target after becoming the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, reports the Daily Mail.
From the opening bell, Democrats unleashed an aggressive verbal assault on New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg and raised new questions about Bernie Sanders’ take-no-prisoners politics in a contentious debate Wednesday night that threatened to scramble even further the party’s urgent quest to defeat President Donald Trump.
Fierce exchanges throughout the two-hour affair marked the most aggressive sustained period of infighting in the Democrats’ yearlong search for a presidential nominee. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren called Bloomberg “a billionaire who calls people fat broads and horse-faced lesbians.” She wasn’t alone.
Sanders lashed out at Bloomberg’s policing policies as New York City mayor that he said targeted “African-American and Latinos in an outrageous way.” And former Vice President Joe Biden charged that Bloomberg's “stop-and-frisk” policy ended up “throwing 5 million black men up against the wall.”
Bloomberg defended himself on all counts and took a shot at Sanders’ electability: “I don’t think there’s any chance of the senator beating Donald Trump.” Bloomberg later seized on Sanders’ rising wealth: “The best known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses!” Sanders defended owning multiple houses, noting he has one in Washington, where he works, and two in Vermont.
The debate also marked a major test for Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who is emerging as the front-runner in the Democrats’ nomination fight, whether his party’s establishment likes it or not.
A growing group of donors, elected officials and political operatives fear that Sanders' uncompromising progressive politics could be a disaster in the general election against Trump, yet they've struggled to coalesce behind a single moderate alternative.
Former Midwestern Mayor Pete Buttigieg went after both Bloomberg and Sanders, warning that one threatened to "burn down" the Democratic Party and the other was trying to buy it.
He called them "the two most polarizing figures on this stage." Watching from afar, Trump joined the Bloomberg pile on.
"I hear he's getting pounded tonight - you know he's in a debate," Trump said.
Bloomberg and Sanders may have been prime targets, but the stakes were no less dire for the other four candidates on stage.
Longtime establishment favorite Biden, Obama's two-term vice president, desperately needed to breathe new life into his flailing campaign, which entered the night at the bottom of a moderate muddle behind former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. And after a bad finish last week in New Hampshire, Massachusetts Sen. Warren was fighting toresurrect her stalled White House bid.