Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) felt the burn during Tuesday’s night debate.
Emerging as the Democratic presidential front-runner after victories in Nevada and New Hampshire, Sanders was the punching bag of the night as his rivals launched a barrage of attacks from all side ahead of Saturday’s South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday only 72 hours later.
In the opening minutes of Tuesday’s night debate in Charleston, South Carolina, Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg kicked off the attacks against Sanders by bringing up reports that Russia is trying to get him nominated so he would lose to President Trump.
“Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States,” Bloomberg said. “And that’s why Russia is helping you get elected, so you’ll lose to him.”
“Bernie will lose to Donald Trump, and Donald Trump and the House and the Senate and some of the statehouses will all go red,” Bloomberg said, adding that would be “a catastrophe.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took a swing at her progressive ally, saying even though they both have a lot in common with their policy ideas and values, she would make a better president because she has the experience to “dig into the details to make it happen.”
“Bernie and I agree on a lot of things, but I think I would make a better president than Bernie,” Warren said. “Getting a progressive agenda enacted is going to be really hard, and it’s going to take someone who digs into the details to make it happen. I dug in. I did the work. And then Bernie’s team trashed me for it.”
Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg warned that a candidate at the top of the ticket who self-identifies as a Democratic Socialist would lead to “four more years of Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House, and the inability to get the Senate in Democratic hands.”
“If you think the last four years has been chaotic, divisive, toxic, exhausting, imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump,” Buttigieg said. “We’re not going to win these critical House and Senate races if people in those races have to explain why the nominee of the Democratic party is telling people to look at the bright side of the Castro regime.”
And former Vice President Joe Biden targeted Sanders’ voting record against gun control legislation, especially his votes against background check while supporting gun manufacturers broad legal protections led to countless mass shooting, including the 2015 massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
“You know, when we talk about progressive, let’s talk about being progressive,” Biden said. “Walking distance of here is Mother Emanuel Church, nine people shot dead by a white supremacist. Bernie voted five times against the Brady Bill. I’m not saying he’s responsible for the nine deaths, but that man would not have been able to get that weapon with the waiting period had been what I suggest until you are cleared.”
By the end of the heated and chaotic first hour of the debate, every single one of Sanders rivals onstage had taken a shot at the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist.
“I’m hearing my name mentioned a little bit tonight,” Sanders fired back. “I wonder why.”