Bloomberg postpones CNN townhall for debate prep

Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergWake up, America — see what's coming Bloomberg urges court to throw out lawsuit by former campaign staffers Former Obama Ebola czar Ron Klain says White House's bad decisions have put US behind many other nations on COVID-19; Fears of virus reemergence intensify MORE will postpone a CNN town hall slated for Monday to prepare for Tuesday’s debate in South Carolina.

The announcement comes on the heels of both Bloomberg’s widely panned debate performance in Nevada last week and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden aspires to become America's auto-pen president Progressive Mondaire Jones wins NY primary to replace Nita Lowey OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden pledges carbon-free power by 2035 in T environment plan | Trump administration has been underestimating costs of carbon pollution, government watchdog finds | Trump to move forward with rollback of bedrock environmental law MORE’s (I-Vt.) resounding victory in the Nevada caucuses over the weekend. Bloomberg, who did not enter any of the early contests, will first compete in next week's Super Tuesday primaries.

Preventing Sanders from opening up an insurmountable lead has become paramount to the Bloomberg campaign after Sanders’s Nevada victory combined with polls showing him catching up with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign slams Trump's Rose Garden event as 'sad affair' New shutdowns add to Trump woes CNN cuts away from Trump's 'campaign-type' Rose Garden speech MORE in South Carolina after Biden previously led by double digits in the Palmetto State.

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In last week’s debate, the first for which the former mayor qualified, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenProgressive Mondaire Jones wins NY primary to replace Nita Lowey Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel Biden campaign announces second round of staff hires in Arizona MORE (D-Mass.) confronted him with his history of allegations of sexual harassment and sexist comments. The Massachusetts senator has since seen a slight rise in the polls following her debate performance.

A spokeswoman for Bloomberg told The Associated Press the Tuesday debate will be “crucial,” adding “the country can’t afford to let Bernie Sanders skate by another debate without a focus on his extreme record.”

Bloomberg has intensified his attacks on the Vermont senator in recent weeks, running ads featuring compilations of hostile tweets the campaign claims are from Sanders supporters and accusing Sanders of insufficient support for gun control.