Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is largely staying out of the public eye in the wake of his poor performance during his first Democratic presidential debate last week.
According to the Wall Street Journal Monday, while other Democratic presidential candidates held rallies in Super Tuesday states throughout the weekend, Bloomberg was busy preparing for his second debate appearance set for Tuesday in South Carolina. Bloomberg’s campaign event in Utah last week has been his only public appearance thus far since last week’s debate.
Given his stumbles during last week’s performance and his decision to skip the first four primaries, Bloomberg is heading into the debate in South Carolina knowing that he needs to show an improved performance days before the state’s primary. Bloomberg is also hanging his hopes on gaining a substantial amount of delegates from next week from Super Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal, which will be his first appearance on the ballot in 14 states.
In a statement shared with TPM Monday, the Bloomberg campaign declined to share details about the the candidate’s debate preparation, but said that the debate needs to be about one candidate: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
“It’s everyone’s last chance before Super Tuesday to really challenge his record and his ideas,” Bloomberg’s campaign told TPM. “If you’re not willing to take on the frontrunner at this stage in the race, when will you be?”
Bloomberg’s campaign also told TPM that Bloomberg “drew a clear contrast” with Sanders in the last debate by “delivering the line of the night” — referring to Bloomberg’s line that Sanders is “the best known socialist” who “happens to be a millionaire with three houses” — and looks to do the same during Tuesday night’s debate in South Carolina.
“If everyone else can’t find the courage to take [Sanders] on, they don’t deserve to win the nomination,” Bloomberg’s campaign told TPM.
A Twitter video released by Bloomberg Monday morning seemed to illuminate his intention to take on Sanders during Tuesday’s debate. The ad, which hits Sanders for his gun voting record, appears to piggyback off of his tweet thread last Thursday that criticized Sanders’ complicated history with the NRA.
The NRA paved the road to Washington for Bernie Sanders.
He spent the next three decades making sure they got a return on their investment.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 24, 2020
On Sunday night, Bloomberg’s campaign announced that it has delayed a CNN town hall scheduled for Monday so that he could take more time to prepare ahead of Tuesday night’s debate. Instead, Bloomberg will attend CNN’s live question-and-answer program Wednesday.
Reflecting on his debate performance two days later, Bloomberg told MSNBC Friday that it “wasn’t my best night” and that he “didn’t have a chance to really say what I wanted to say.”