Don't call it a comeback.
While he'll never sound like Pericles (unless there's a Pericles from Medford), Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday night gave a debate performance that showed he can actually defend himself when he's attacked rather than looking like someone who took a vow of non-violence before his first debate in Las Vegas.
Sure, Bloomberg had a Scrooge McDuck moment when he claimed that he "bought" the House of Representatives to help Nancy Pelosi. But he corrected himself mid-sentence and avoided gaffing his way out of the primary before voters even have the chance to cast their ballots for him on Super Tuesday.
Like in last week's debate, Elizabeth Warren seemed to take great glee in going after Bloomberg despite the fact that her ideological rival is Bernie Sanders and not Bloomberg, the man who is trying to be the king of the anti-Sanders movement in the Democratic Party.
Perhaps Warren is still bitter that Bloomberg endorsed Republican Scott Brown in his Senate campaign against her — or perhaps she's trying to win points with Sanders should he be the nominee. Regardless, she had some of the best anti-Bloomberg lines of the night.
"The core of the Democratic Party will never trust him," warned Warren, who may have a point.
Bloomberg never won a majority of the Democratic vote in his three campaigns for mayor in New York City and he's now focusing on Super Tuesday states with open primaries that aren't really big-D Democratic, including Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
Of at least local interest, former Mayor David Dinkins endorsed Bloomberg's candidacy just before the debate, a fact that could have helped Bloomberg when he was yet again asked to defend his protracted support of the police tactic of stop-and-frisk. But Bloomberg never mentioned that he had the backing of the city's only African American mayor who, ironically, gave Bill de Blasio his first real job in government.
Watching the debate's many attacks, there were times when you would have thought that Bloomberg was the frontrunner instead of Sanders. But it was an odd night in other ways with the Naked Cowboy getting a goofy shout-out from Bloomberg before anyone even mentioned the coronavirus by name.
Bloomberg also didn't buy into the "fun" endgame in the debate in which candidates were supposed to share their favorite motto. Bloomberg quoted himself — which shouldn't be all that surprising given that his memoirs are titled "Bloomberg by Bloomberg" and he also named his media empire after himself.
In the end, Bloomberg sort of lived to fight another day. But should Bernie Sanders win the South Carolina primary on Saturday, all of the candidates on stage may find that while there's still a Super Tuesday, they're just about out of days.