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Mudslinging Democratic Debate Tops in Wednesday Ratings

Gettyimages | Ethan Miller
By Chad Skiles

The Democratic debate held in Vegas on Wednesday felt more like a promo for a prizefight... or maybe even the fight itself.

As the campaign shifts into this critical phase, with less candidates to share the spotlight, so too has the rhetoric changed. For some candidates in particular, that meant going into a full attack mode.

Their favorite target? The new guy: Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The longtime New York Mayor was roasted throughout the debate, with particularly stinging jabs coming from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, seen below.

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Gettyimages | Mario Tama

The biting tone was not lost on those vocal on social media.

This was Bloomberg's first time sharing the stage with all of the other candidates, and his image of as an outsider was perpetuated throughout.

"I actually welcomed Mayor Bloomberg to the stage," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar. "I thought that he shouldn't be hiding behind his TV ads."

Mayor Pete Buttigieg did not hold back on his attempted take-down either.

"Most Americans don't see where they fit if they've got to choose between a socialist who thinks that capitalism is the root of all evil and a billionaire who thinks that money ought to be the root of all power... Let's put forward somebody who is actually a Democrat."

Gettyimages | SAUL LOEB

Bloomberg’s campaign manager Kevin Sheekey released a statement after the debate: “You know you are a winner when you are drawing attacks from all the candidates... everyone came to destroy Mike tonight. It didn’t happen. Everyone wanted him to lose his cool. He didn't do it. He was the grownup in the room.”

Regardless, Bloomberg was not the only one to come under fire, by any means.

Buttigieg took a shot on Klobuchar's experience. "You're staking your candidacy on your Washington experience. You're on the committee that oversees border security. You're on the committee that does trade."

"You're literally in part of the committee that's overseeing these things," he went on. "And [you] were not able to speak to, literally, the first thing about the politics of the country to our south."

Giphy | GIPHY News

"Are you—are you trying to say that I'm dumb?" Klobuchar responded. "Or are you mocking me here?... I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete.”

Mocking or no, it rose the debate to the top spot on television—an increase in ratings.

Sometimes, to defeat a toe, one tries to outmatch them at their own game. Given Trump's penchant for attacks and, at times, outright bullying, the Democrats may have been may have been giving it their best go.

In some viewers' eyes, the lack of civil discourse did not do the candidates any favors.

Gettyimages | Mark Wilson

Even Bloomberg, at a campaign event in Salt Like City, said that "the real winner of the debate last night was Donald Trump."

"I worry that we may be on the way to nominating someone who cannot win in November."

The nominee will need to be able to stand toe-to-toe with President Donald Trump, both on a debate stage and in what is sure to be another heated campaign trail.

Although most of the Democrats uttered the seemingly-obligatory line: "I will support any candidate who receives the nomination," it is difficult to say if their infighting is hurting the party's chances at unity, or toughening them up the inevitable showdown with the nation's most prolific political attacker.

Following the primary convention in July, the bell will ring, and the true fight will begin.

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