A week after their viral showdown at the Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg squared off at another debate, this one on Tuesday night in Charleston, South Carolina.
Warren again pressed Bloomberg over the confidentiality agreements women had signed after raising complaints or alleging misconduct about him or at his company. Last week, after a similar attack from her in a debate performance that was widely panned, Bloomberg announced he would no longer use such confidentiality agreements and would release certain women from them.
On Tuesday, however, Warren added a new element to her critique: She repeated an allegation by a former saleswoman at Bloomberg’s company that, while the woman was pregnant in the ’90s, Bloomberg told the woman to “kill it.”
Bloomberg stridently denied that accusation on the debate stage, even as Warren said voters needed more information about his background to make up their minds — of a piece with similar criticisms she made about him not yet releasing his tax records and supporting Republican politicians in the past.
Another former Bloomberg employee told The Washington Post they overheard Bloomberg tell the saleswoman, “Are you going to kill it?”
That employee “said he found the comment ‘outrageous. I understood why she took offense,’ ” the Post reported.
A billionaire businessman and three-term N.Y.C. mayor, Bloomberg was a major target at Tuesday’s debate.
After a late entry to the race and an unusual campaigning strategy in which he skipped the first four states and spent hundreds of millions on advertising and building out his campaign staff, Bloomberg made his debate debut last week in Nevada. There he was shredded by his fellow candidates in a performance that was widely panned, pivoting in part on Warren’s prosecutorial questioning about his history with women.
Bloomberg seemed visibly more comfortable and fluent on Tuesday and pressed his case that as the executive of the country’s largest city — and it’s cultural and financial nerve center — he most of all has the can-do experience and record to take on Trump.
Democratic primary voters will next head to the polls in South Carolina, on Saturday.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is the front-runner in the race after winning in New Hampshire and Nevada, but other candidates are hoping to knock him from that perch.