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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Bad Debate for Bloomberg

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well under way.

At the Las Vegas debate, Hallie Jackson asked Bloomberg about sexual harassment suits that ended in nondisclosure agreements.  Like Trump, he answered by talking about all the opportunities that he had provided for women.  Jackson then turned to Warren, who had been critical of Bloomberg on this point.
WARREN: Yes, I have. And I hope you heard what his defense was. "I've been nice to some women." That just doesn't cut it. The mayor has to stand on his record. And what we need to know is exactly what's lurking out there. He has gotten some number of women, dozens, who knows, to sign nondisclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and for gender discrimination in the workplace. So, Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those nondisclosure agreements, so we can hear their side of the story? (APPLAUSE)
BLOOMBERG: We have a very few nondisclosure agreements.
WARREN: How many is that?
BLOOMBERG: Let me finish.
WARREN: How many is that?
BLOOMBERG: None of them accuse me of doing anything, other than maybe they didn't like a joke I told. And let me just -- and let me -- there's agreements between two parties that wanted to keep it quiet and that's up to them. They signed those agreements, and we'll live with it.
BIDEN: Come on.
WARREN: So, wait, when you say it is up to -- I just want to be clear. Some is how many? And -- and when you -- and when you say they signed them and they wanted them, if they wish now to speak out and tell their side of the story about what it is they allege, that's now OK with you? You're releasing them on television tonight? Is that right? (APPLAUSE)
BLOOMBERG: Senator...
WARREN: Is that right, tonight?
BLOOMBERG: Senator, the company and somebody else, in this case -- a man or a woman or it could be more than that, they decided when they made an agreement they wanted to keep it quiet for everybody's interests.
BIDEN: Come on.
BLOOMBERG: They signed the agreements and that's what we're going to live with.
(CROSSTALK)
BUTTIGIEG: You could release them now.
WARREN: I'm sorry. No, the question is...
BLOOMBERG: I heard your question.
WARREN: ... are the women bound by being muzzled by you and you could release them from that immediately? Because, understand, this is not just a question of the mayor's character. This is also a question about electability. We are not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who has who knows how many nondisclosure agreements and the drip, drip, drip of stories of women saying they have been harassed and discriminated against. (APPLAUSE) That's not what we do as Democrats.
JACKSON: Mr. Vice President?
BIDEN: Look, let's get something straight here. It's easy. All the mayor has to do is say, "You are released from the nondisclosure agreement," period.(APPLAUSE)
...
BLOOMBERG: I've said we're not going to get -- to end these agreements because they were made consensually and they have every right to expect that they will stay private.
(AUDIENCE BOOS)
But how many people were watching?  And will they remember? Also note: