Bloomberg campaign scrambles to spin brutal debate performance
Michael Bloomberg’s campaign was scrambling on Thursday to put a positive spin on the former mayor’s brutal 2020 debate-stage debut — though an insider admitted that the nondisclosure agreements Bloomberg used in the private sector remain a weak spot.
“You know you’re a winner when you draw attacks from all the candidates,” Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey wrote in an email newsletter to supporters. “Everyone came to destroy Mike and it didn’t happen.”
Bloomberg, 78, may not have been destroyed Wednesday night in Las Vegas, but it wasn’t for lack of trying by his five debate competitors.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren led the charge in a unified attack on Bloomberg’s deep pockets, employment of stop-and-frisk policing as mayor of New York and use of NDAs to bar workers from discussing the alleged frathouse culture at his business-news empire.
A Bloomberg campaign insider said his flat-footed response to Warren’s withering NDA attack could remain a thorn in his side.
“He needs to have an answer and believe it,” the source told The Post.
But the newsletter accentuated the positive, highlighting Bloomberg’s dig at Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, for his own wealth.
“Mike Bloomberg presented himself as the leading alternative to Bernie Sanders,” wrote Sheekey. “Everyone came to get under Mike’s skin, but instead, Mike got under Bernie’s.”
Sheekey insisted that Bloomberg held his own against candidates with much longer-running campaigns — and that the best is yet to come.
“It took Mike just three months to build a stronger campaign than the rest of the field had built in more than a year,” said Sheekey. “It took him just 45 minutes in his first debate in 10 years to get his legs on the stage.
“He was just warming up last night.”
“We fully expect Mike will continue to build on last night’s performance when he appears on the stage in South Carolina next Tuesday,” continued Sheekey.
Despite admitting the NDA weak spot, the source said the camp on Thursday wasn’t in a panic, but calm and focused on forging ahead.
“Nobody is screaming or outwardly angry,” said the insider. “It seems more like, ‘Let’s figure out how to do better.’
“And he did have a moment or two.”
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