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What Happened In Vegas: Mike Bloomberg's Debate Debut46:40
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Democratic presidential candidate former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg delivers remarks during a campaign rally on February 12, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Bloomberg is holding the rally to mark the beginning of early voting in Tennessee ahead of the Super Tuesday primary on March 3rd.  (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg delivers remarks during a campaign rally on February 12, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Bloomberg is holding the rally to mark the beginning of early voting in Tennessee ahead of the Super Tuesday primary on March 3rd. (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Just three days ahead of the Nevada Caucus, six Democrats took to the debate stage in Las Vegas. But there was one notable newcomer on the stage. We’ll talk Michael Bloomberg's first debate performance.

Guests

Michael Kranish, national political investigative reporter for The Washington Post. (@PostKranish)

Mara Gay, member of the New York Times editorial board, covering politics and New York State. Former City Hall reporter for the Wall Street Journal, where she covered, among many topics, Mayor Bloomberg. (@MaraGay)

Michael Beckel, research director for Issue One, a cross-partisan issue reform group. (@mjbeckel)

What Democratic Candidates Had To Say About Mike Bloomberg's Debate Debut

From The Reading List

The Washington Post: "Bloomberg faces attacks for refusing to release women from confidentiality agreements" — "It was a dramatic moment at Wednesday’s Democratic debate: Elizabeth Warren turned to Mike Bloomberg and demanded that he release women from nondisclosure agreements they had signed after suing him, so they could tell their stories of alleged harassment or discrimination.

"Bloomberg, visibly unsettled by the fierceness of the attack, refused to back down, saying the deals were mutual and there was no reason to nullify them. 'They signed the agreements, and that’s what we’re going to live with,' Bloomberg said.

"Warren did not let up. 'What we need to know is exactly what’s lurking out there,' she said. 'He has gotten some number of women — dozens, who knows — to sign nondisclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and for gender discrimination in the workplace. So, Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those nondisclosure agreements, so we can hear their side of the story?'"

The New York Times: "Bloomberg’s Billions: How the Candidate Built an Empire of Influence" — "In the fall of 2018, Emily’s List had a dilemma. With congressional elections approaching and the Supreme Court confirmation battle over Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh underway, the Democratic women’s group was hosting a major fund-raising luncheon in New York. Among the scheduled headline speakers was Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor, who had donated nearly $6 million to Emily’s List over the years.

"Days before the event, Mr. Bloomberg made blunt comments in an interview with The New York Times, expressing skepticism about the #MeToo movement and questioning sexual misconduct allegations against Charlie Rose, the disgraced news anchor. Senior Emily’s List officials seriously debated withdrawing Mr. Bloomberg’s invitation, according to three people familiar with the deliberations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"In the end, the group concluded it could not risk alienating Mr. Bloomberg. And when he addressed the luncheon on Sept. 24 — before an audience dotted with women clad in black, to show solidarity with Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexual assault — Mr. Bloomberg demonstrated why."

CNN: "Bloomberg is spending his billions. Trump's hosting a pricey 2020 fundraiser. But is it legal?" — "Michael Bloomberg is spending unprecedented gobs of his own many billions of dollars on his late entrance into the Democratic presidential primary. What's he getting for all that coin?

"How much can he spend under the law? And is this, as some liberals claim, a billionaire buying an American election?

"On the other side, President Donald Trump is going to be hosting a fundraiser this weekend with the Republican National Committee near his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida with an entrance fee of more than half a million dollars per couple."

This program aired on February 20, 2020.

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Brittany Knotts Freelance Producer
Brittany Knotts is a freelance producer for On Point.

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Robert Siegel Guest Host
Robert Siegel was co-host of NPR's All Things Considered from 1987 until his retirement in January 2018.

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