Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said in an interview released Friday that he was surprised by how unprepared Michael R. Bloomberg seemed in the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas this week, and predicted that President Trump would “chew him up and spit him out” in a general-election debate if the former New York mayor won the nomination.
In an excerpt from the interview, recorded Thursday and set to be broadcast on CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday night, the correspondent Anderson Cooper asked Mr. Sanders whether he was surprised by Mr. Bloomberg’s struggles to answer “some very basic, obvious questions.” Mr. Sanders, the Democratic primary’s current front-runner, said he was.
“If that’s what happened in a Democratic debate,” he added, “you know, I — I think it’s quite likely that Trump will chew him up and spit him out.”
Asked whether he was less worried about Mr. Bloomberg as a rival for the nomination after his debate performance, Mr. Sanders turned the question around and renewed his attack on Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign spending from his personal fortune.
“I am worried about an unprecedented amount of money being spent on a campaign,” Mr. Sanders said. “And — you know, we’ve never seen anything like this in American history. And I just think, though, that the American people will rebel against this type of oligarchic movement. We are a democracy. One person, one vote. Not a guy worth $60 billion buying an election.”
The blunt assessment from Mr. Sanders was the latest withering attack Democratic rivals have aimed at Mr. Bloomberg in recent days. Though Mr. Bloomberg is not competing in the Nevada caucuses this weekend, he has been rising in national polls and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to boost his candidacy. Despite having amassed no pledged delegates to this point, his campaign has called on other candidates to exit the race so that he can run head-to-head against Mr. Sanders.
Mr. Sanders has for months accused Mr. Bloomberg of trying to buy the Democratic nomination. And at the debate on Wednesday, Mr. Bloomberg faced sharp criticism from other rivals like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who highlighted the derogatory names he has called women, the discriminatory police tactics he defended until recently and the nondisclosure agreements he reached with former employees of his company who accused him of harassment and discrimination.
Mr. Bloomberg punched back at the debate, accusing Mr. Sanders of hypocrisy for preaching democratic socialism while owning three houses. His campaign has previously criticized Mr. Sanders’s campaign tactics, comparing them unfavorably to those used by Mr. Trump. And on Thursday, Mr. Bloomberg renewed his electability argument, telling a crowd in Utah: “If we choose a candidate who appeals to a small base, like Senator Sanders, it will be a fatal error.”