Bloomberg rivals criticize billionaire businessman during presidential debate

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Michael Bloomberg faced a barrage of attacks at his first Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday, as his rivals rushed to criticize the billionaire businessman for his wealth, record on race and history of sexist comments.

Bloomberg seemed nervous and hesitant in a rough debut before a national audience in a debate that gave voters their first unscripted look at the media mogul and self-funding former New York mayor who has surged in polls while spending hundreds of millions of his own dollars on television ads.

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg lined up to go after Bloomberg, frequently shouting over one another as they vied for attention in the most contentious of the nine Democratic White House debates.

All the contenders accused Bloomberg of trying to buy his way into the White House and said his record as mayor and a businessman would lead the party to defeat in November.

“We’re running against a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-face lesbians,” said Warren, a senator from Massachusetts. “And, no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”

“Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another,” she added.

Bloomberg accusations over the years

Bloomberg has been accused over the years of many sexist and misogynist comments, and several lawsuits have been filed alleging that women were discriminated against at his media company.

He did not respond to Warren’s comments about his past remarks about women, which were taken from a booklet given to him in 1990 that was said to be a compilation of his sayings over the years. A campaign spokesman has said that Bloomberg “simply did not say the things somebody wrote in this gag gift.”

Bloomberg, who entered the race in November and is skipping the first four early voting states in February to focus on later nominating contests in March, said he was using his money for an important cause.

“I’m spending that money to get rid of Donald Trump - the worst president we’ve ever had. And if I can get that done, it will be a great contribution to America and to my kids,” he said.