Warren calls Bloomberg 'riskiest' bet for Democrats

Elizabeth Warren said Thursday that Michael Bloomberg was the “riskiest” choice for Democratic voters among the candidates still running for the presidential nomination.

On a national conference call with voters, Warren was asked by a voter from Dallas why she continued her attacks on Bloomberg during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina.

“I think Bloomberg poses a tremendous risk to the Democratic Party right now, and the reason for that is, as of a couple of weeks ago, he had spent $400 million to put his name out there,” Warren said. “He skipped all of the early states and kind of the early part of what democracy is about — go out, talk to people, take questions — and he was able to just put out a picture of Bloomberg that has been totally shaped by consultants, kind of his own vision of himself and what he wanted to present with no one to challenge him. And look how that raised him in the polls. I mean, let’s face it, he basically bought a place on the debate stage.”

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at a campaign event in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Warren has made Bloomberg her primary target in the two Democratic debates for which he has qualified. She cited his history of making sexist remarks, his insistence on closing complaints by women employees with sealed nondisclosure agreements and his policing policies during his tenure as mayor of New York.

“The fact that Michael Bloomberg has not released his tax returns, does that sound like any other billionaires you know?” Warren jibed. Bloomberg said he would release the returns “in a few weeks” —i.e., after Super Tuesday — explaining that the forms are “thousands of pages” and “it just takes us a long time. I can’t go to TurboTax.”

Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren debate in Las Vegas. (AP Foto/John Locher)

“The fact that he has a terrible history with women and a lot of nondisclosure agreements so that we just don’t even know what’s lying out there and will come out ... during the general election,” Warren continued. “A terrible history of racist policies — stop and frisk, talking about redlining. This is a man who has talked about supporting Republicans, repeatedly helped anti-choice Republicans get elected, including the Republican that I challenged back in 2012 when I first got into politics.”

Bloomberg seems to hold a similarly dim view of Warren. At a private event in 2016, he quipped about the need to “defend the banks” from the likes of the Massachusetts senator, saying the “progressive movement” she embodies was “just as scary” as far-right nationalist parties in Europe or right-wing Republicans.

“The left is arising. The progressive movement is just as scary,” Bloomberg said. “Elizabeth Warren on one side. And whoever you want to pick on the Republicans on the right side.”

Bloomberg’s rise in the polls, fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising in Super Tuesday states, seemed to stall after Warren first took him on at a debate in Las Vegas, when he came across as stiff and supercilious. Her own candidacy has also failed to gain traction in the crowded field. But Bloomberg appears to be her least favorite candidate, even in a field that still includes the erratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“I think he is literally, of all the Democrats that are standing on the stage in the last two debates, I think he is literally the riskiest one for Democrats to nominate,” Warren said on the call. “And I very much hope that he will put his money into helping Democrats get elected instead of Republicans, but that he will not insist on having his own ego tied up in this and continuing to run for president.”


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