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Bloomberg qualifies for his first 2020 debate

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After spending hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg will, for the first time, appear on the 2020 debate stage.

The billionaire and former New York City mayor was a latecomer to the race for the party's nomination, but on Tuesday he qualified to take the stage this week in Las Vegas.

He got a boost from an NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll that put him in second place nationally, with 19% support.

(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING:

"...spending hundreds of millions of dollars, trying to buy an election."

Leading that NPR/PBS/Marist poll with 31% is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who railed against Bloomberg at campaign events on Sunday and Monday.

(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING:

"We are a democracy, not an oligarchy."

Sanders has positioned himself as a candidate who will address income inequality and rein in financial institutions.

(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING:

"If we can bail out the crooks on Wall Street and give tax breaks to billionaires, we can cancel all student debt in America."

On Tuesday, Bloomberg proposed a raft of new regulations aimed at Wall Street, including the phasing in of a financial transaction tax and stronger consumer protections.

While it doesn't go quite as far as the proposals backed by Sanders or Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Bloomberg's sweeping reform plan is the latest evidence of how far left the Democratic Party has moved on issues such as financial regulation.

Many of Bloomberg's new regulatory proposals are a reversal from his previous position on banking rules, but they could provide some cover as he faces off with Sanders, Warren and the other top moderate Democratic candidates in Nevada on Wednesday.