Bloomberg Warns About Nominating Sanders

Also, former mayor's campaign releases edited debate clip that draws criticism
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2020 1:32 PM CST
Bloomberg Sees One 'Real Winner' in Debate
Michael Bloomberg arrives for the Democratic debate Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Matt York)

The early reviews for Michael Bloomberg's debate performance were not good. As the dust settles, the reviews ... are still not good. "Mike's got to get his legs under him," conceded campaign manager Kevin Sheekey on MSNBC, reports Politico. But in a statement, Sheekey was more upbeat. “Everyone came to destroy Mike,” he said. “It didn’t happen. Everyone wanted him to lose his cool. He didn’t do it. He was the grown-up in the room.” As for Bloomberg himself: "Look, the real winner of the debate last night was Donald Trump," the candidate said in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday, per NBC News. "Because I worry that we may be on the way to nominating someone who cannot win in November." He singled out Bernie Sanders in particular, saying that nominating a candidate with a "small base" would be a "fatal error" for Democrats. More coverage:

  • Edited video: The Bloomberg campaign released a video clip from the debate in which Bloomberg asks, “I’m the only one here, I think, that’s ever started a business, is that fair?” It then shows close-ups of other candidates, seemingly unable to respond during a long period of silence before Bloomberg says, "OK." But the reaction shots were spliced together from different parts of the debate, and critics were accusing the campaign of deception, reports the Hill.
  • Bad review: "The man is a wooden charisma vacuum with no natural talent for campaigning," writes Matthew Yglesias at Vox, who thinks the problem is not a superficial one. "Bloomberg’s inability to speak from the heart in a convincing or plausible way cuts to a much deeper problem with his candidacy—much of his policy agenda appears to have been cooked up by consultants over the past few months and has no connection to ideas he’s espoused over the rest of his career."
  • Another: "The debate underscored the Bloomberg’s campaign biggest fear: It's hard to hide to his prickly demeanor," writes Mike Allen at Axios. "Bloomberg had all the time, practice and forewarning money could buy—and still struggled mightily on the public stage." But, adds Allen, Bloomberg might be able to mitigate the damage with huge ad buys.
  • Not so bad: Bloomberg "did fine," writes Josh Greenman at the Daily News. "He survived many quivers of slings and arrows without making big mistakes. Nobody expects raw, pulsing magnetism from Mike Bloomberg. He came across as calm and competent, more no-nonsense manager than persuasive politician, which is kind of the point."
(More Michael Bloomberg 2020 stories.)

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