All three network morning shows on Thursday ripped into Michael Bloomberg’s Democratic debate debut, hammering the “universally bad” night as possibly a “knockout punch” for the former New York Mayor. ABC even suggested it would have been better if Bloomberg never qualified for the debate.
On CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King ripped, “Listen, the reviews are in for Mike Bloomberg, as you know. And they are universally bad with words like ‘disastrous,’ ‘pummeled,’ ‘stumbled.’” She then held up the mocking front covers of the New York Post and Daily News. King opened the show by declaring, “Mike Bloomberg stumbles in his first Democratic debate.”
Talking to Major Garrett, King marveled, “My question to you, how does this happen to him last night? He knew the all the questions were coming. How does he recover?” Garrett offered his scathing critique: “The consensus was Bloomberg was unprepared, unfocused and uninspiring.... The consensus among these Democrats was Bloomberg blew it.”
Over on Good Morning America, reporter Jon Karl said it would have been better for Bloomberg to have never made the debate: “Bloomberg qualified for the debate at the last minute and only after the DNC changed the rules but there's no question that he would have been better off if he didn't qualify. But there’s only so long you can hide behind a $400 million ad splurge.”
On NBC’s Today, the show opened with a graphic that speculated, “Knockout punch?” Co-host Savannah Guthrie insisted, “I don't think there is any dispute from the Bloomberg folks that this was not a good debate for him.”
Why all the doom and gloom from the liberal media? Aside from accepting the reality — this just wasn’t a good performance — journalists have been struggling over how to deal with a possibly disastrous Bernie Sanders nomination. One reaction is for media outlets to disingenuously pretend that candidates like Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg are “moderates.”
Bloomberg was meant to be a possible alternative to journalists terrified of Sanders. Wednesday’s debate performance is worrisome that they might have to look elsewhere.
Partial transcripts are below. Click “expand” to read more:
CBS This Morning
7 AM tease
GAYLE KING: Fight night in Vegas. Mike Bloomberg stumbles in his first Democratic debate with other candidates fiercely attacking his record and millions. Who stood out in this blistering clash?
KING: Chief Washington correspondent major Garrett joins us now with more on the debate last night. Major, good morning.
MAJOR GARRETT: Good morning.
KING: Listen, the reviews are in for Mike Bloomberg, as you know. And they are universally bad with words like “disastrous,” “pummeled,” “stumbled.” You've probably seen the front page of the New York papers.
TONY DOKOUPIL: Hometown papers.
KING: Yeah, his hometown papers. You are right, Tony. “Black and Bloom.” “Bloom Goes the Dynamite.” Yet, this morning, the Bloomberg campaign says they are pleased with his performance. My question to you, how does this happen to him last night? He knew the all the questions were coming. How does he recover?
MAJOR GARRETT: Well, you recover by spending even more money and Mike Bloomberg has unlimited financial resources. I talked to a lot of Democrats last night, both during the debate and afterwards. The consensus was Bloomberg was unprepared, unfocused and uninspiring. And for an the opportunity to make a solid first impression the consensus among these Democrats was Bloomberg blew it. But that doesn't mean he's out of it because he has inexhaustible resources, which means you can put plenty of advertising on the air to compensate for this. One Democrat I talked to said that might cost him $80 million to compensate for what he did last night, or, more precisely, didn't do. When you have that kind of money you can remain in the game. But for a momentum builder it was an opportunity missed.
Good Morning America
JON KARL: Bloomberg qualified for the debate at the last minute and only after the DNC changed the rules but there's no question that he would have been better off if he didn't qualify. But there’s only so long you can hide behind a $400 million ad splurge.