The Massachusetts senator finished off pace in the first two contests of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, raising doubts over her path to the nomination and questions about her staying power. But with her campaign possibly on the line and, many have suggested, on the ropes, Warren turned in a masterclass that translated into a fundraising haul of more than $1 million over less than two hours, according to a tweet from her chief mobilization officer.
That fresh infusion of cash is critical to Warren’s hopes of outrunning her rivals over what her campaign has insisted will be a marathon primary season. She hammered the moderates over their more modest plans, jabbed Sen. Bernie Sanders over his campaign’s tactics and hacked away, throughout the night, at former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Warren has tended to drift in and out of past debates, but the billionaire former mayor’s presence, directly to her right, seemed to invigorate her. She shot out of the gates arguing that Bloomberg’s record made him unelectable and, to Democrats, simply unacceptable.
“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians.’ And, no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump,” Warren said in the opening minutes. “I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”
The audience gasped, but Warren was only getting started.
“Democrats are not going to win,” she said, “if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist policies like redlining and ‘stop and frisk.'”
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, waiting on deck, took it from there and, with barely a 15 minutes gone, Bloomberg, making his debate stage debut, had been struck back on his heels.
Later on, when Bloomberg was asked by a moderator about his 2015 comments, in which he talked up “stop and frisk” and said that minority communities were disproportionately targeted because “that’s where all the crime is,” Warren pounced again, this time targeting the rationale behind his disavowal of the practice.
“When the mayor says that he apologized, listen very closely to the apology,” Warren said. “The language he used is about stop and frisk. It’s about how it turned out. No, this isn’t about how it turned out. This is about what it was designed to do to begin with.”
The crowd in Las Vegas cheered as Warren continued, reminding voters that Bloomberg had defended the policy throughout his three terms as mayor, even amid protests and a court ruling it unconstitutional.
“You need a different apology here, Mr. Mayor,” Warren said.
The onslaught continued when Bloomberg, confronted with allegations of misogynistic behavior at his company, sought to pivot away from those damning reports and highlight the number of women he’d promoted both in the private sector and while in public office.
Warren, who has already been critical of Bloomberg on this front, was given the first opportunity to respond.
“I hope you heard what his defense was — ‘I’ve been nice to some wom