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Sen. Elizabeth Warren came out swinging against her fellow Democrats on the debate stage Wednesday night.
She compared their healthcare plans to consultant-created PowerPoints and paper-thin Post-It Notes and just generally twisted the knife the rest of the candidates had already thrown at Mike Bloomberg.
The Massachusetts senator started with aggressive attacks against more moderate healthcare plans offered by former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Warren even went after the plan put forward by her fellow Medicare for All advocate, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“We need to get everybody’s healthcare plan out here,” Warren said. “Mayor Buttigieg really has a slogan thought up by consultants to paper over a thin version of a plan that would leave people unable to afford their healthcare. It’s not a plan; it’s a PowerPoint.
Warren wasn’t done there.
“And Amy’s plan is even less, it’s like a Post-It note, insert plan here,” she continued.
“Bernie has a good start,” Warren continued. “But instead of expanding and bringing in more people to help, his campaign relentlessly attacks everyone who asks a question or tries to fill in details about how to actually make this work, and then his own adviser said, ‘It probably won’t happen anyway.’”
(That was most likely a reference to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a top Sanders surrogate who recently said that a public option might be the best possible outcome of the next healthcare fight.)
Warren then shifted gears to defending her own healthcare plan, which has repeatedly been attacked by Buttigieg and others over issues of cost and the end of private insurance.
“Healthcare is a crisis in this country. My approach is that we need as much help for as many people as quickly as possible and bring in as many supporters as we can,” Warren said. “And if we don’t get it all the first time, take the win and the come back in to the fight to ask for more.”
Buttigieg and Klobuchar attempted to play off Warren’s attack with jokes.
“I’m more of a Microsoft Word guy,” Buttigieg said, while Klobuchar countered: “I take personal offense, since Post-It Notes were invented in my state.”
But Warren wouldn’t let them off the hook. She pointed out that Buttigieg’s plan only caps costs on premiums, and again went after Klobuchar for a lack of details. “Amy, I looked online at your plan,” Warren said. “It’s two paragraphs.”
Warren saved her most aggressive attack of the night for Bloomberg, who was asked by moderators to respond to previous allegations of sexism at his company.
“I have no tolerance for the kind of behavior that the #MeToo movement has exposed, and anybody that does anything wrong in our company, we investigate it, and if it's inappropriate, they're gone that day,” Bloomberg said. “In my company, lots and lots of women have big responsibilities. They’re paid exactly the same as men. And in my City Hall, my deputy mayor was a woman, and 40% of our commissioners were women.”
Warren shot back.
"I hope you heard what his defense was: 'I've been nice to some women,'” she said. “That just doesn't cut it. The mayor has to stand on his record.”
Warren also pressed Bloomberg to release former employees from nondisclosure agreements, which soon turned into a stage-wide discussion of the controversial documents.
"None of them accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn't like a joke I told. These were agreements between two parties who wanted to keep it quiet,” Bloomberg said.
Cover: Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, left, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., talk before a Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC. (AP Photo/John Locher)