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Bloomberg postpones CNN townhall for debate prep

Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergBiden's great challenge: Build an economy for long-term prosperity and security The secret weapon in Biden's fight against climate change Sanders celebrates Biden-Harris victory: 'Thank God democracy won out' 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 SandersFormer Sanders press secretary: 'Principal concern' of Biden appointments should be policy DeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump 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 says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts 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 WarrenSchwarzenegger says he would 'absolutely' help Biden administration Disney chair says he would consider job in Biden administration if asked Despite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill 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.