DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – From one issue to the next, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg took punch after punch.
During Wednesday night’s debate, Bloomberg’s first, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren went after Bloomberg aggressively.
“Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another,” she said.
In response, Bloomberg said, “I’m a New Yorker, I know how to take on an arrogant con-man like Donald Trump that comes from New York.”
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar urged Bloomberg to release his tax forms. “I think it’s great you got a lot of money, but I think you’ve got to come forward with your tax returns.”
Bloomberg said, “We’re releasing them, they’ll be out in a few weeks.”
Warren also criticized Bloomberg for the lawsuits former employees filed against him and his media empire, along with the non-disclosure agreements the employees signed upon settling their cases.
At the debate, Bloomberg said, “They decided they made an agreement that they wanted to keep it quiet for everybody’s interest. They signed the agreements, that’s how we’re going to live with it.”
Warren said, “This is not just a question of the Mayor’s character, this is also a question about electability.”
Stephanie Martin, SMU Professor of Political Communication criticized Bloomberg’s debate performance.
“It was not as good as it should have been,” she said.
Martin said the former New York City Mayor came across as unprepared, but said his performance wasn’t a knock out blow because he’s not on the ballot until he competes in Texas and the 13 other Super Tuesday states March 3.
“He’ll have another opportunity and media cycle to be on the debate stage in a week,” said Martin. “Really, that was just a dress rehearsal for him. If this happens again, then we should be concerned.”
Martin said the debate rescued Elizabeth Warren’s campaign from irrelevance.
“It was a performance she had to have to get people to start talking about her again. The media chatter about Elizabeth Warren has been ‘hey, who remembers Elizabeth Warren’?”
Martin said Bloomberg’s campaign is all about media saturation, and she expects the strategy will continue.
She said Wednesday night’s debate proves the party isn’t ready to unite behind a center-left candidate to take on Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
This raises the stakes for the next debate Tuesday night in South Carolina on CBS 11.