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Sanders goes after Bloomberg: He won't create 'energy' needed to beat Trump

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Trump's debate performance was too little, too late Final debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit MORE (I-Vt.) is taking aim at Michael BloombergMichael BloombergThe Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 spending wars | Biden looks to clean up oil comments | Debate ratings are in Biden breaks all-time television spending record Trump squeezed by cash crunch in final election sprint MORE over his self-funded 2020 presidential campaign, saying that the former New York City mayor would not be able to produce the "excitement" and "energy" needed to defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE

“The simple truth is that Mayor Bloomberg, with all his money, will not create the kind of excitement and energy we need to have the voter turnout we must have to defeat Donald Trump,” Sanders said on Saturday at a Democratic Party gala in Las Vegas, Reuters reported.  

Sanders, who has emerged as the front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary field after strong showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, went on to strongly criticize Bloomberg's policy views on issues such as minimum wage laws, policing and regulating Wall Street. He also denounced Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg LP, over the stop-and-frisk policy he oversaw as mayor of New York City, which contributed to a disproportionate number of stops of minorities across the city. 

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A federal judge ruled in 2013 that stop-and-frisk tactics employed by the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of minorities. Bloomberg has since apologized for the policy. 

"We will not create the energy and excitement we need to defeat Trump if that candidate pursued, advocated for, and enacted, racist policies like stop-and-frisk, which caused communities of color in his city to live in fear," Sanders said Saturday, according to Reuters. 

Sanders's speech in Las Vegas came as 2020 candidates descended on Nevada ahead of the state's caucuses on Saturday. 

Bloomberg, who has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into his own campaign, is not competing in Nevada, instead focusing on the Super Tuesday states where voters will cast ballots on March 3. 

Despite Bloomberg's unconventional campaign, the former mayor has continually gained strength in support over the past couple of months. Recent national polls have showed him trailing Sanders and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE for the Democratic nomination.

Bloomberg's candidacy has sparked intense criticism from other campaigns, many of whom have railed against the billionaire businessman's decision to put huge amounts of his own wealth into the election process. 

Asked for comment on Sanders's recent remarks, a Bloomberg campaign spokesperson told The Hill that "as mayor, Mike raised taxes on the wealthy and supported an increase in the minimum wage and the Earned Income Tax Credit."
 
"As president, Mike will raise rates on high-income earners, tax capital income more equitably, close loopholes, and bolster enforcement. He will get it done because he's done it before," the spokesperson said. 
 
UPDATED 11:16 a.m.