Democratic presidential contenders on Wednesday (February 19) joined striking Las Vegas workers on a picket line, ahead a pivotal debate.
The Nevada debate on Wednesday night comes three days before the state’s voters make their picks in an unsettled and close nominating race for the White House.
Joe Biden, a onetime front-runner, walked the picket line amid a media scrum and chatted to workers and reporters.
Biden slammed Michael Bloomberg, whose poll numbers have surged in recent days.
“The truth is he has basically been a Republican his whole life,” said Biden.
“The fact of the matter is he didn’t endorse Barack (Obama) or me when we ran. This is a guy talking about … you know, he is using Barack’s pictures like they are, you know, good buddies,” added Biden.
Bloomberg, a late entry into the Democratic presidential race, has moved into second place ahead of Biden, according to a Reuters/Ipsos national poll released on Tuesday that showed Bernie Sanders widening his lead over the field.
The nationally televised debate will give many voters their first unscripted look at Bloomberg, a media mogul and former New York mayor whose campaign has been fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars of self-funded television ads and carefully choreographed personal appearances.
Despite skipping the first four early voting states in February to focus on later nominating contests in March, Bloomberg qualified on Tuesday for his first debate after meeting the Democratic National Committee’s polling requirement.
He will join Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren at the debate, three days before Nevada’s presidential caucuses, the third contest in the state-by-state race to find a challenger to Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election.
Biden and Warren, in particular, face the do-or-die task of reigniting their campaigns after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this month.
Bloomberg, 78, has come under heavy fire on the campaign trail recently as his poll numbers have surged and his entry into the race on March 3 – known as Super Tuesday, when 14 states vote – draws closer.
He has risen to No. 2 among Democrats behind progressive Senator Bernie Sanders, according to a Reuters/Ipsos national poll released on Tuesday.
Rivals are certain to challenge Bloomberg over his record, including his past support in New York of “stop-and-frisk” police policies during his time as mayor that disproportionately hit African Americans.
(Production: Sandra Stojanovic, Omar Younis)