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Warren Again Asks Bloomberg to End NDAs: Campaign Update

Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou and Ryan Teague Beckwith

(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Thursday again challenged Michael Bloomberg to release former employees from nondisclosure agreements, saying she had even drawn up a legal document for him to sign.

“So, I used to teach contract law and I thought I would make this easy. All Mayor Bloomberg has to do is download it. I’ll text it. Sign it,” Warren said. “And then the women or men will be free to speak, and tell their own stories.”

Warren’s comments followed a clash with the former New York City mayor at the debate of Democratic candidates in Las Vegas on Wednesday. During the forum, she repeatedly asked him to release women from the agreements they signed with Bloomberg LP to settle complaints against his company that cited sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. Bloomberg responded that he wouldn’t end the agreements.

“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,” Bloomberg said. “They signed those agreements, and we’ll live with it.”

Still, Warren told CNN anchor Erin Burnett that she would support Bloomberg if he were the Democratic nominee. “I’d like to think the Democratic Party is better than having an arrogant billionaire who harasses women and engages in sexual discrimination fights,” Warren said. “At the end of the day it’s going to be Donald Trump versus someone and what I can guarantee is I’m liking someone.”

(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

Bloomberg to Take Part in His First Town Hall (10:44 p.m.)

Michael Bloomberg will take part in his first town hall since entering the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, his campaign said on Thursday night.

The town hall, in Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday at 8 p.m., is part of a series to be televised by CNN before the state holds its primary on Feb. 29. He will take questions from voters, as will Bernie Sanders who follows in his own town hall at 9 p.m., the network said. The other major candidates will also have town halls later Monday and on Wednesday night.

Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, will not be on the ballot in South Carolina, but the announcement came a day after he participated in his first presidential debate, in Las Vegas, where he was widely criticized for a poor performance.

“So how was your night last night?” Bloomberg quipped Thursday at a campaign stop in Salt Lake City, tacitly acknowledging the drubbing he took from rivals and in post-debate media reviews.

(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

Trump and RNC Raise $33.6 Million in January (7:36 p.m.)

President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee reported raising a combined $33.6 million in January, according to the Federal Election Commission, part of a $60.5 million haul that’s keeping him well ahead of the fundraising pace of previous incumbents.

Trump raised $6.4 million and the RNC took in $27.2 million. The total does not include money raised by two joint fundraising committees which file their reports with the FEC quarterly. Trump’s re-election effort ended January with more than $200 million in the bank, the RNC and the campaign announced.

“President Trump’s campaign and the RNC continue to be fundraising juggernauts,” campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement.

Trump has outraised the candidates in the historically crowded Democratic field, but top Republican fundraisers have worried they will need to raise as much as $1 billion more to match the expenditures of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who spent a record $220 million in January and $409 million for his campaign since it launched in November. Trump and the RNC spent $39.7 million.

(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.) -- Bill Allison

Sanders Ends January With $16.8 Million on Hand (5:45 p.m.)

Bernie Sanders ended January with $16.8 million in the bank after a $25 million haul that marked his best month for fundraising, his latest filing with the Federal Election Commission showed.

Sanders, who’s been the top fundraiser among Democratic primary candidates, now has the poll numbers to match. He’s atop the RealClearPolitics average of national polls at 27.8%, 10 points ahead of second-place Joe Biden. He also enjoys a wide lead in the average of Nevada polls, where he has a 14-point lead over Biden. The state’s caucuses are on Saturday.

The strong fundraising has allowed Sanders to look beyond both Nevada and the next contest, the South Carolina primary. On Feb. 6, his campaign announced it was adding staff and launching seven-figure ad buys in 10 states that vote in March. The bulk of his spending so far has come in the delegate-rich states of California and Texas, which vote in the March 3 Super Tuesday contests.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and hedge-fund founder Tom Steyer, who are self-financing their campaigns, have both spent more in California, while Bloomberg has outspent Sanders in Texas.

(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

Sanders relies on grassroots donors to fund his campaign, many of whom give more than one donation. Contributors giving $200 or less gave him $13.3 million in January. He raised an additional $2.7 million on Wednesday, the day of the Las Vegas debate. -- Bill Allison

Buttigieg Shows Midwestern Nice to Klobuchar (5:07 p.m.)

In his most on-brand moment yet, Pete Buttigieg talked about all the things he likes about his Democratic rivals.

The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor, who frequently talks about healing the country’s divisions, was asked at a town hall in Los Angeles what he likes most about the other candidates.

Bernie Sanders? “Has a better sense of humor than he gets credit for.”

Joe Biden? “You can’t miss the decency.”

Elizabeth Warren? “A powerful intellect and a remarkable figure in our party.”

In a classic display of how “Midwestern nice” can mask deep rivalries, his praise for Amy Klobuchar -- with whom he clashed repeatedly at Wednesday’s debate -- was notably vague. “I have a very high regard for my fellow Midwesterner, Amy Klobuchar,” he said. -- Tyler Pager

Warren Says Super PAC Levels the Playing Field (3:23 p.m.)

Elizabeth Warren has long criticized super PACs. Nevertheless, she has Persist PAC.

Speaking to reporters in Las Vegas on Thursday, the Massachusetts senator did not disavow the newly formed PAC backing her even though she has long said she would only rely on small donors to fund her campaign.

She said that if all the men in the presidential race have a super PAC or are billionaires, then she and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar shouldn’t be the only two candidates at a disadvantage.

“So, here’s where I stand: if all the candidates want to get rid of Super PACs, count me in,” she said. “I’ll lead the charge. But that’s how it has to be. It can’t be the case that a bunch of people keep them and only one or two don’t.” -- Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou

Bloomberg Edits Debate Video for Twitter (1:45 p.m.)

Michael Bloomberg’s campaign posted an edited clip that offered an alternate-reality version of a moment in Wednesday’s debate, adding 21 seconds of silence to make it appear that his rivals didn’t have an answer to a question he raised.

In the 25-second video tweeted out Thursday morning, the former New York mayor is shown talking about his experience in business: “I’m the only one here I think that’s ever started a business. Is that fair?”

That part shows how it happened. But the video then cuts to Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden looking like they are unable to answer. Bernie Sanders is shown looking like he’s about to speak, while Biden stares intently. Elizabeth Warren raises her hand, then lowers it, and the camera zooms in on Buttigieg again.

The actual pause after the question was two seconds.

The moment came one hour and 13 minutes into the debate, in which Bloomberg’s performance was widely panned. On Twitter, Bloomberg was roasted for posting the video.

Bloomberg also tweeted a unedited 26-second clip of him challenging Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for being a “millionaire with three houses.”

Warren, Sanders Raised Millions Off Debate (11:15 a.m.)

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are boasting that they turned their debate performances into cold hard cash.

Warren’s campaign said she raised more than $2.8 million Wednesday, calling it her best debate-day fundraising of the entire campaign. A Sanders spokesman said he raised $2.7 million from nearly 150,000 donors over the course of the day.

The numbers can’t be verified because candidates aren’t required to disclose information on contributors who give $200 or less, and campaign finance reports won’t be submitted until March 20.

Strong debate performances can boost donations. Amy Klobuchar got a $2 million boost after her strong performance in the New Hampshire debate on Feb. 7.

Other campaigns haven’t announced fundraising totals spurred by the debate, although some prefer to report numbers 12 or 24 hours after a major event. -- Bill Allison

COMING UP

Nevada holds its caucuses on Saturday, and South Carolina has a primary on Feb. 29. Fourteen states and one U.S. territory will vote on Super Tuesday, March 3.

(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

--With assistance from John Harney, Bill Allison, Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, Tyler Pager and Mark Niquette.

To contact the reporters on this story: Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou in Washington at megkolfopoul@bloomberg.net;Ryan Teague Beckwith in Washington, D.C. at rbeckwith3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, John Harney

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