Ahead of 4th Debate, 2 Non-Candidates in Headlines

Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Obama turn up in speculation, polls
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2019 9:07 AM CDT
Ahead of 4th Debate, 2 Non-Candidates in Headlines
From left, presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are introduced Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, before a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The top Democratic candidates are back on the debate stage Tuesday night, but might another big name be joining them in the not-too-distant future? CNBC reports that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg might run in 2020 after all. However, the only situation in which he would do that is if Joe Biden dropped out relatively early in the race, according to the anonymous insiders talking to CNBC. Biden has been losing ground to Elizabeth Warren in particular in recent polls. Bloomberg, 77, reportedly still has a team of political advisers in place should he decide to jump in. Related coverage, including a poll suggesting Michelle Obama would be a strong candidate:

  • The debate: It airs on CNN at 8pm ET from Ohio's Otterbein University, per NPR. An even dozen candidates qualified: Biden, Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Tom Steyer, Amy Klobuchar, Julián Castro, and Tulsi Gabbard.

  • Sanders' health: This is his first debate since suffering a heart attack, notes Vox. The pressure is on him to show he remains a vigorous candidate.
  • Buttigieg: He's been getting more aggressive of late, particularly against Warren, as he tries to position himself "as a leading moderate alternative" to Biden, observes a debate preview in the New York Times. "Remarkably few Democrats have confronted Ms. Warren so far. Will Mr. Buttigieg buck the trend?"
  • Biden: He will surely face questions about son Hunter's business interests in Ukraine, especially now that Hunter has given an interview to ABC. But NBC News expects the candidates to generally show solidarity with him on the issue, rather than attacking. "Biden's answers may give Democratic voters a sense of whether they believe—as he has suggested—that Trump's effort to destroy him is evidence that he's the strongest Democratic candidate," per the analysis.
  • Warren: She's been rising in the polls, and expectations are high. A Politico poll finds that 31% of Democratic voters expect her to perform the best in the debate, up from 19% ahead of the September debate. The rest of the pack "may not be able to afford to sit back and let Warren deliver her message to voters without contradiction," per NBC.
  • And about Obama: Bloomberg isn't the only non-candidate making headlines ahead of the debate. A Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald poll found that the former first lady would be the frontrunner in New Hampshire should she enter the state's primary race, reports the Herald. For the record, Obama has said there is "zero chance" of that happening.
(Read more Michael Bloomberg stories.)

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