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Bloomberg postpones CNN townhall for debate prep

Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergHolder, Yates lead letter backing Biden pick for Civil Rights Division at DOJ The truth behind companies' 'net zero' climate commitments The strategy Biden needs to pass his infrastructure plan 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 SandersSirota: Biden has not fulfilled campaign promise of combating union-busting tactics Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Progressives put Democrats on defense 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 BidenFour members of Sikh community among victims in Indianapolis shooting Overnight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes 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 WarrenPoll: 56 percent say wealth tax is part of solution to inequality Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Democrats reintroduce bill to block US from using nuclear weapons first 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.