CNN Calls It: ‘Bloomberg Was Awful,’ ‘Titanic, Meet Iceberg,’ Fist to His Face

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The first three words of CNN’s analysis after Wednesday’s Nevada Democratic presidential debate, provided by chief political analyst Gloria Borger, summed up the panel’s consensus: “Bloomberg was awful.” Whether it was comparisons to the Titanic or getting punched in the face, the criticism only got worse as the liberal panel began to mock former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for being grossly unprepared to field the obvious questions about his record.

Bloomberg was awful. I'm sorry. This was the moment that the DNC got criticized for, for letting Bloomberg in this debate,” Borger continued. “And sometimes he looked like somebody who was saying, you know, ‘I paid $400 million for this podium, and I can't get a chance to speak?’ And he got better as the night went on, I thought, but it wasn't a great first showing for him.”

Former Democratic candidate and businessman Andrew Yang was on hand to breakdown how he thought Bloomberg’s debate-prep team didn’t do the billionaire any favors when getting him ready (click “expand”):

ANDREW YANG: I think three things happened to Mike tonight. Number one, he just found out he'd make the debate yesterday. There were two times when I wasn't sure I was going to make the debate and my team got me together to prepare. And you're really not sure if you're preparing because you're not sure if you're going to be in the debate. So Mike, even though he was I'm sure getting coached and prepared, he's like, “I don't know if I'm going to be in this debate.” And so, I don't think he was coached hard enough.

Number two, he was clearly instructed to keep his cool no matter what. But that ended up presenting as lethargic and uninterested for a big chunk of the debate. And the third most telling thing is that if I'm his team, you know he's going to get a stop and frisk question, like a gender discrimination or mistreatment question. So, you coach him and you have him give you 60, 75-second answers over and over again until he can do it in his sleep. And the fact that he did not have those answers at his fingertips lets me know categorically he was not properly prepared for this debate.

 

 

Yang would later go on to hypothesize that the reason Bloomberg was so ill-prepared was that he didn’t want to do the legwork and no one on his team was allowed to force him to practice.

The most interesting and arguably accurate analogies of Bloomberg’s debate performance came from CNN weekend host and liberal activist Van Jones, who compared the candidate to the Titanic hitting the iceberg. “Listen, this was a disaster for Bloomberg. Bloomberg went in as the Titanic, billion-dollar machine Titanic. Titanic, meet iceberg Elizabeth Warren. She took him to task in a way that I’ve never seen in a debate. She took it over. She prosecuted him,” he touted.

His answer on women was terrible. He got completely destroyed on the NDA question. His answer on stop and frisk was as bad as it could be. And then he basically lied on his answer when it came to redlining,” Jones added. “And he's got to go back to the woodshed and get it from his team and come back better next time.”

Of course, host Chris Cuomo would come up with this take, shortly before the discussion shifted to talking about Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): “You could see it on his face. Even when Warren was hitting him, he was watching the fist hit his face.”

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN’s Debate Post Analysis
February 19, 2020
11:00:16 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS CUOMO: Michael Bloomberg, welcome to the arena. It was his first night and he felt it. Let's bring in the power players to get a take. Gloria Borger, what's the big headline?

GLORIA BORGER: Bloomberg was awful. I'm sorry. This was the moment that the DNC got criticized for, for letting Bloomberg in this debate. And now I'm wondering why the other candidates were criticizing him because he wasn't practiced at debating. He’s not done this in more than a decade. And I think the notion, even for a Mike Bloomberg, that you can step in and go toe-to-toe on this stage with people who have been doing it, what, Andrew yang, for a couple of years.

ANDREW YANG: Yeah, a couple of years.

BORGER: For a couple of years. It seems to me that that was difficult for him. And sometimes he looked like somebody who was saying, you know, “I paid $400 million for this podium, and I can't get a chance to speak?” And he got better as the night went on, I thought, but it wasn't a great first showing for him.

(…)

11:02:24 p.m. Eastern

CUOMO: Andrew yang, you know the field the best. You know what it's like on that stage. At was the read?

ANDREW YANG: I think three things happened to Mike tonight. Number one, he just found out heed make the debate yesterday. There were two times when I wasn't sure I was going to make the debate and my team got me together to prepare. And you're really not sure if you're preparing because you're not sure if you're going to be in the debate. So Mike, even though he was I'm sure getting coached and prepared, he's like, “I don't know if I'm going to be in this debate.” And so, I don't think he was coached hard enough.

Number two, he was clearly instructed to keep his cool no matter what. But that ended up presenting as lethargic and uninterested for a big chunk of the debate. And the third most telling thing is that if I'm his team, you know he's going to get a stop and frisk question, like a gender discrimination or mistreatment question. So, you coach him and you have him give you 60, 75-second answers over and over again until he can do it in his sleep. And the fact that he did not have those answers at his fingertips lets me know categorically he was not properly prepared for this debate.

BORGER: Well, they say they coached him on all of those issues, so --

DANA BASH: And that he had extensive debate prep with real mock debates with his aides playing all the roles of all the people.

VAN JONES: Listen, this was a disaster for Bloomberg. Bloomberg went in as the Titanic, billion-dollar machine Titanic. Titanic, meet iceberg Elizabeth Warren. She took him to task in a way that I’ve never seen in a debate. She took it over. She prosecuted him.

But the worst part about it is for me, a lot of African-Americans are placing great hope in Bloomberg. Despite the stop and frisk and all that sort of stuff, you're seeing people trying to move over there and he just wasn't ready. He was tone-deaf on issue after issue. And the reason why, he's not been in those living rooms, he hasn't done the town halls. He doesn’t know. Attacking people – “oh, I have too much money for -- TurboTax,” this is a great answer? A lot of people watching use TurboTax.

His answer on women was terrible. He got completely destroyed on the NDA question. His answer on stop and frisk was as bad as it could be. And then he basically lied on his answer when it came to redlining. He—On every major thing that people who are looking for a champion, just wanting they see some contrition and some professionalism, he let people down tonight.

And he's got to go back to the woodshed and get it from his team and come back better next time.

(…)

11:07:00 p.m. Eastern

CUOMO: You could see it on his face. Even when Warren was hitting him, he was watching the fist hit his face.

(…)

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Debates Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Cable Television CNN Cuomo PrimeTime Video Chris Cuomo Gloria Borger Michael Bloomberg Van Jones Andrew Yang

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