• Bloomberg did not qualify for the earlier debates because his campaign is self-funded
  • Bloomberg has spent more than $300 million on ads focused on President Trump's policies
  • Bloomberg is running third in national polls ahead of Warren and Buttigieg

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg braced Wednesday for attacks by fellow Democrats in his first appearance on the Democratic presidential debate stage.

Along with Bloomberg, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend (Ind.) Mayor Pete Buttigieg were scheduled to debate at 9 p.m. EST in Las Vegas. The debate is being hosted by NBC, MSNBC and the Nevada Independent, an online mostly political blog.

You can watch the debate live here on, on an NBC affiliated television station or on the MSNBC cable channel. It also will stream live on the NBC News app or on

Nevada Democrats hold their caucuses on Saturday.

Sanders goes into Wednesday night’s debate leading the national polls with Biden a distant second and Bloomberg hot on Biden’s heels.

This is Bloomberg’s first appearance on the debate stage. He did not enter the presidential sweepstakes until November and his name was not on the ballot in any of the February contests. Instead he has spent at least $338.7 million from his own fortune on broadcast and digital advertising, concentrating on the delegate-rich March 3 Super Tuesday states.

Until now, he hasn’t qualified for the debate stage because he’s not accepting donations. The Democratic National Committee in December decided to drop its fundraising requirement, using polling and actual votes instead as qualifying factors.

President Trump, who is holding a rally in neighboring Arizona Wednesday, has been baiting Bloomberg on Twitter for weeks, calling him “Mini Mike,” questioning his debating skills and accusing him of violating campaign finance laws by funding his own campaign.

Bloomberg hit back Wednesday, tweeting, “Impeached president says what?”

At the debate Bloomberg likely will have to defend his support of “stop-and-frisk” while he was mayor, as well as his comments on crime and transgender individuals. He also has come under attack for reported sexist comments and foul language.

Sanders has said Bloomberg shouldn’t be able to “buy this election” and noted that after “stop-and-frisk” ended and Bloomberg was out of office, the crime rate in New York continued to fall.

Buttigieg also said Bloomberg is trying to buy the election, saying it’s unfair to just throw “colossal sums of money at television” without campaigning on the ground.

Klobuchar said being wealthy isn’t a qualification for being president. She said she didn’t think “when people look at Trump, they automatically say, ‘Hmm, can we get someone richer?”

Warren called on Bloomberg to apologize for overseeing surveillance programs that targeted Muslims.

Biden attacked Bloomberg for his views on former President Barack Obama.

Despite the shots at Bloomberg’s wealth, Senate Democrats are not turning their noses up at the cash he’s poured into anti-Trump ads.

“To the extent that Mayor Bloomberg is investing heavily in campaign ads in states that we have to win in the Electoral College and that those ads criticize or challenge President Trump’s values and his record and present a Democratic alternative, I think that’s a constructive thing,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who has endorsed Biden, told Politico.