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National Govt & Politics
Pulling back the curtain on Jamie Dupree 2.0
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Pulling back the curtain on Jamie Dupree 2.0

Pulling back the curtain on Jamie Dupree 2.0
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Pulling back the curtain on Jamie Dupree 2.0

Monday marks the start of a new effort to get my voice back on the radio for the first time in two years, by using a high tech solution, a computer generated voice, drawn from recordings of my old stories, as medical efforts to bring my voice back - to anything close to normal - have not been successful.

It was April 2016 when my voice began to falter, after I got sick on a family vacation; since then, my doctors have determined that I have a rare neurological disorder, in which the signals from the brain are getting mixed up somehow, causing my tongue to push out of my mouth when I speak - it's known as 'tongue protrusion dystonia.'

As it became obvious in the last year that my voice was not coming back, we searched for answers, and finally, high tech guru Mike Lupo at our Cox Media Group corporate headquarters contacted a company in Scotland, CereProc, which agreed to try to build what amounts to a Jamie Dupree voice app.

How does it work? How do I produce stories with it? Why is it even needed? Let's take a look.

1. Let's start with an explanation of what's wrong. Over the past two years, there have been no answers in the search for my voice. What I have is a neurological disorder, for which there really aren't specific treatments, known as tongue protrusion dystonia. When I try to talk, my tongue pops out of my mouth, my throat clenches, and it results in a strangled, unintelligible voice. I've been to Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, George Washington, the Cleveland Clinic, Emory University. The Mayo Clinic wouldn't take my case. Many doctors have frankly admitted my problems were above their expertise. At Easter of 2017, the head of the voice center at the Cleveland Clinic correctly diagnosed my problems, but had no names to offer me in terms of treatment. I have been seeing a doctor outside of D.C. who agreed to try to decipher my case, but we really haven't pushed any closer to a solution. In March, I saw Dr. Hyder Jinnah at the Emory University Brain Health Center in Atlanta - he gave me two Botox shots to my tongue in mid-May, to see if that would slow my tongue, and stop it from thrusting out of my mouth when I speak. It hasn't really helped, so we will try again in August, with a little more Botox. You can hear from my doctor in this report that was done by CNN's medical unit, thanks to producer Sandee LaMotte.

2. Building a voice from the Dupree archives. Since my voice isn't going to re-appear anytime soon, we started looking for high tech ways to get me back on the air. The first step was gathering years of recordings of my voice. I have shoe boxes filled with cassette tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, mini-discs, hard drives, and all sorts of different media storage devices from the first time I went on the radio in 1983, up through April of 2016 when my voice went out. But to build this voice, we focused on recordings from the last few years, which I had saved on our company computer system. Whether it was my reports from Capitol Hill, or from out on the campaign trail, I had hours and hours of material. But what the people at CereProc needed was audio that was only from me - so I spent several very late nights sorting through hundreds and hundreds of my stories to isolate those items which would help build a good voice. Going through all of that audio, it was like a trip down memory lane of what news stories that I had covered in the past few years, where I had been during my campaign coverage, what stories were big, and more. But that audio search was also a sobering personal reminder for me, that what was once normal - the mere act of speaking on the radio - was now impossible. Thus, the need for Jamie Dupree 2.0.

Jamie Dupree
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voice13

Jamie Dupree

3. CereProc then goes to work. Once I handed off hundreds of audio files to the folks at CereProc in Scotland, all I could do was wait to see what they were going to be able to produce. "The voice was harder to build as the audio data used to build the voice was not recorded for the purpose of building a text-to-speech voice," said Graham Leary, who was in charge of my voice development. "Normally we would record a phonetically-balanced script, optimized for coverage of the different sounds in English," he added. In other words - they would bring someone in to record 30 hours or more of material, to make sure they get all the right sounds. With me, they had to improvise, but Leary said it worked out okay. "The radio reports are high quality and a suitable alternative - they are studio-recorded, read in a measured, consistent style and don't have any interjections from other speakers, crowd noise, applause etc. that can make audio difficult to work with." Trust me, this is a complicated process.

4. Pairing the voice with a text-to-speech program. The folks at CereProc recommended downloading a freeware program called "Balabolka" to use with my Jamie Dupree 2.0 voice. While the name might be a tongue twister, the program is fairly straightforward. You load a specific voice to be used - in my case, the "CereVoice Jamiedupree - English (East Coast America)" voice. You type in some words. Then you hit the 'play' button. And it plays what you write. Hit another button, and it exports those written words into a computer generated audio file, either wav or mp3. Balabolka is a very powerful tool, and can probably do a lot more than I am using it for - but to see how it easy it was to hit Alt-W and generate an mp3 file with my new voice, it was really quite a surprise. So, when you hear me on the radio with this synthesized voice, it will just be me typing the words, and saving them into an audio file.

Jamie Dupree
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voice14

Jamie Dupree

5. How does the voice work? When I type words into the text-to-speech program, it doesn't go looking in an audio vault on my laptop for the exact words that I write, and then put those words together one-by-one. Instead, it searches out the sounds that would be made. So, this is not a question of having me on tape saying every word in the dictionary. Yes, it helps to have examples of me saying "President Trump" or "Congress." But I know there was no example in my stories of me saying "Rudy Giuliani," and yet, that popped out perfectly when I tried out the voice. How can that happen? CereProc uses "neural networks" to generate voices. "The neural networks, which contain between six to 10 layers each, work by slicing audio recordings of words down to phonetics," the BBC wrote in a technical story about my new computer generated voice. This allows the Jamie Dupree 2.0 voice - and other voices created by companies all over the world - to navigate through just about any piece of text.

6. Figuring out certain words and sounds. While I have great praise for CereProc, the Jamie Dupree 2.0 voice isn't perfect. One thing you run into immediately is that certain words and phrases don't sound right - either because they are not pronounced clearly enough, or they seem artificially shortened. So, I spend a lot of time going back and moving words around in my news copy to see if it will sound better. One other way to massage the voice is that there are also a series of XML commands which can be used to emphasize certain words, to change the pitch, or alter the speed. One thing I quickly noticed is that the voice cuts off a word rather sharply at the end of a sentence - I simply found a way to fix that by slowing down the speed of the last word (or syllable) by 1 or 2 notches, to make it sound more natural. But there are some words that just don't come out right, even if they are spelled correctly, so you have to be inventive. "Investigation" just doesn't come out right, no matter what I try. House Speaker Paul Ryan's last name didn't sound good at all - so I wrote "Rye Inn" instead - and that sounded just right. Let's take the word "denuclearize." It sounded awful when written that way - but I found a way to make it sound better, as shown in the graphic below, by making it D-nuclear-rise, and by slowing down the final syllable.

Jamie Dupree
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voice16

Jamie Dupree

7. What does Jamie Dupree 2.0 sound like? Listen to this extended 'interview' that I did with the BBC World Service. Some of the words and phrases sound natural and fairly normal - at other times, it gets a bit robotic. But to me, it's still pretty amazing. It is my voice in there. And to be on the BBC World Service was a treat - I got hooked on shortwave radio as a teenager, and loved listening to Alistair Cooke's 'Letter from America' each week. Will this voice solution work in the long run? That will be up to my bosses - and really, up to the listeners. If they can deal with the different sound - whether in a newscast, or a longer form appearance - then I will still be able to deliver the news from Capitol Hill. I fully expect to get a lot of people saying nice things, and I fully expect to get a lot of mean and nasty social media messages as well.

8. Comparing the old, the new, and 2.0 After two years of not having a voice that was ready for a trip to the grocery store - much less going on the radio - it is truly fantastic to have a way to get back on the radio. Yes, the voice is a bit robotic at times. But it is me. I can hear myself in these words. So, let's look at how I sounded before, what I sound like now, and what Jamie Dupree 2.0 is like.

This news report is from February 28, 2016, at a Trump rally in Alabama. It was a giant crowd, and was one of my favorite reports from the first three months of 2016, when I was chasing the candidates all over the country.

https://cmgwsbradiojamiedupree.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/trump-alabama2.mp3

What do I sound like now? I can get out words that sound okay, but not in any type of rapid fire way. If I am going to speak, it has to be very slow, and with a pen in my mouth to keep my tongue occupied (that is the source of my problem, a tongue which is not behaving properly, as it pops out of my mouth when I speak).

https://cmgwsbradiojamiedupree.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/jamie-dupree-now-voice.mp3

As you can tell from that audio, it is a struggle to say just about anything. So, we go to Jamie Dupree 2.0. It can say anything that I want (though four letter words don't come out very well, just in case you were wondering). But, all I really want is to find my real voice again. Version 1 was better. But Jamie Dupree 2.0 is here, and this is what it sounds like.

https://cmgwsbradiojamiedupree.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/dupree-immigration1.mp3

9. Thanks to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). I can't give any rundown on my voice without thanking Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. When she was elected after the death of Rep. Claude Pepper (D-FL), one of my company's radio stations was in Miami, so I got to know her right away when she arrived in Congress in 1989. While Cox Media Group sold our news-talk station in Miami, I still kept in touch with Ros-Lehtinen in the hallways of the Capitol. She would hear me on the radio and happily chirp, "The most connected man in Washington!" When I told her of my voice problems late in 2017, she gave me a hug and said she would help. Her speech on the floor of the House in December drew attention to my problems, and spurred interest from news organizations. That's how CNN's medical unit got interested, and that's how I found my way to Dr. Jinnah at Emory. I can't thank Ros-Lehtinen, Speaker Ryan, and others for their help. It made a difference for me.

10. How do I feel about Jamie Dupree 2.0? Let's be honest. I want to be able to speak normally. Even just somewhat normally. A friend texted me to ask, was I nervous about the new voice? I guess, a little. But if there is one thing that I take from the last two years, it's that I never gave up. I kept working at my job. I kept searching for a medical answer. I'm still searching for that answer. The outlook was admittedly bleak at times, like in April 2017 when the doctor at the Cleveland Clinic told me that no one could even treat my neurological/voice disorder. Early on, I knew I couldn't give up. I have kids who are only 9, 11, and 14. "I think everyone saw how passionate and how badly/deeply you wanted this," my boss told me the other day. "He never let anyone see him sweat," said my friend and colleague Dorey Scheimer.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to come down to our company's headquarters in Atlanta - our CEO Alex Taylor wanted to see me. It turned out to be an event with several hundred people, where I was presented with the "Governor Cox Award," named after our company's founder, Taylor's great-grandfather, James M. Cox. Taylor told the audience that because of my voice problems, I could have given up, I could have gone on disability, I could have quit my job. But I didn't. His words meant a lot to me, and they have been echoed by many inside our company in recent weeks. I want to thank him, and many others for their support.

Finally, I want to thank all the listeners, viewers, readers, and fellow ham radio operators who have sent me expressions of support over the past two years. Your words of encouragement were a great source of strength.

I would also thank those of you who sent me nasty emails, and celebrated my voice troubles. I know you will be back to criticize my new voice.

But you know what? Those jabs make me work even harder to stay in the news arena.

And now, we go onward - with Jamie Dupree 2.0.

Read More
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  • Adding another item to their election year list of grievances about President Donald Trump, the candidates for the Democratic Party nomination have stepped up their criticism of the White House response to the Coronavirus, arguing it is emblematic of what they charge is the President's haphazard method of governing. 'I am deeply concerned not just by the rise of cases of Coronavirus worldwide, but by the inadequate and incompetent response we have seen from Donald Trump and his administration,' said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). 'He has done an absolutely terrible job of responding,' Tom Steyer said of the President at a campaign stop on Wednesday in Georgetown, South Carolina.  'He is incompetent,' added Steyer, as Democrats blasted the President for proposing cuts at the Centers for Disease Control. 'The Trump administration is absolutely bungling the response,' said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), as she accused the President of 'putting our public health and our economy at risk.' In a CNN televised town hall on Wednesday night in Charleston, Mike Bloomberg joined in ridiculing the White House response. 'Number one, he fired the pandemic team two years ago,' Bloomberg said. 'Number two, he's been defunding Centers for Disease Control. So, we don't have the experts in place that we need.' The comments came as Bloomberg has already put up a campaign ad saying that he would be the perfect politician to handle such a crisis. In a separate CNN town hall, Joe Biden said the U.S. needs to challenge the Chinese more on how the government is handling the situation. 'I would not be taking China's word for it,' Biden said. “I just hope the President gets on the same page as the scientists.' Asked about the President putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the Coronavirus response, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said there might have been better choices. “I would think, usually, you might put a medical professional in charge,” Klobuchar said to laughter from the audience at a CNN town hall.
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  • Los Angeles County firefighters responded to a large refinery fire that temporarily closed all lanes of the 405 Freeway Tuesday night in the city of Carson. KTLA-TV reports that massive flames could be seen burning from the Marathon Petroleum Corporation located 13 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Fire Department said the fire sparked about 10:50 p.m. An explosion went off before the fire began burning in a cooling tower at the refinery, the department said. Personnel from the refinery were keeping the flames in check through “fixed ground monitors” while working to depressurize the system, fire officials said. Authorities secured a perimeter around the refinery and did not anticipate needing to evacuate residents, officials said. Marathon is the largest refinery on the West Coast with a crude oil capacity of 363,000 barrels per calendar day, according to the company’s website. It manufactures gasoline and diesel fuel, along with distillates, petroleum coke, anode-grade coke, chemical-grade propylene, fuel-grade coke, heavy fuel oil and propane, the website says. Authorities could not immediately confirm what sparked the fire. No injuries have been reported so far.

Washington Insider

  • With less than 48 hours until the polls open on Saturday for the South Carolina Primary, several of the top candidates in the Democratic Party race on Thursday decided to leave the Palmetto State behind, and jump ahead to some of the 14 states which vote on Super Tuesday. Bernie Sanders was hitting two Super Tuesday states on Thursday, holding a late morning rally in Winston Salem, North Carolina, before going on to Richmond, Virginia, two states which vote next week. Sanders finishes Thursday with a rally at Wofford College in Spartanburg. Unlike the past few days on the stump in South Carolina, where Sanders has thrown elbows at Michael Bloomberg and Joe Biden, Sanders in North Carolina instead focused his ire on President Donald Trump. 'I believe that Donald Trump is a hoax,' Sanders said, criticizing the President for his views on climate change. Along with Sanders, Elizabeth Warren was also taking a day off from the Palmetto State, as she had a rally in San Antonio. Part of Super Tuesday, Texas has not attracted a great deal of campaign attention until now, even though 228 delegates are at stake in the Lone Star State - more than the 155 delegates awarded from the first four contests combined in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. While both Warren and Sanders were going to return to South Carolina, the calculus was a bit different for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who has now wrapped up her campaign in South Carolina, and moved on to Super Tuesday states. The Minnesota Democrat started her Thursday with a voting rights roundtable in Greensboro, North Carolina. 'As much as maybe the debates may have seemed like slugfests, I want to you to remember what an exciting time this is in our politics,' Klobuchar said. “Call your friends, tell them what you heard today,” Klobuchar said at a second event in the Tar Heel State. “It is not about the biggest bank account,” Klobuchar said of the campaign.  “That's been shown time and time again.” Klobuchar will campaign Friday and Saturday in North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee - all three states are on the docket for Super Tuesday.  While Klobuchar, Warren, and Sanders spent time outside South Carolina, Tom Steyer, Joe Biden, and Pete Buttigieg were still doing campaign events in the Palmetto State on Thursday. The latest poll from Monmouth University showed a growing lead for Biden.
  • Adding another item to their election year list of grievances about President Donald Trump, the candidates for the Democratic Party nomination have stepped up their criticism of the White House response to the Coronavirus, arguing it is emblematic of what they charge is the President's haphazard method of governing. 'I am deeply concerned not just by the rise of cases of Coronavirus worldwide, but by the inadequate and incompetent response we have seen from Donald Trump and his administration,' said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). 'He has done an absolutely terrible job of responding,' Tom Steyer said of the President at a campaign stop on Wednesday in Georgetown, South Carolina.  'He is incompetent,' added Steyer, as Democrats blasted the President for proposing cuts at the Centers for Disease Control. 'The Trump administration is absolutely bungling the response,' said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), as she accused the President of 'putting our public health and our economy at risk.' In a CNN televised town hall on Wednesday night in Charleston, Mike Bloomberg joined in ridiculing the White House response. 'Number one, he fired the pandemic team two years ago,' Bloomberg said. 'Number two, he's been defunding Centers for Disease Control. So, we don't have the experts in place that we need.' The comments came as Bloomberg has already put up a campaign ad saying that he would be the perfect politician to handle such a crisis. In a separate CNN town hall, Joe Biden said the U.S. needs to challenge the Chinese more on how the government is handling the situation. 'I would not be taking China's word for it,' Biden said. “I just hope the President gets on the same page as the scientists.' Asked about the President putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the Coronavirus response, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said there might have been better choices. “I would think, usually, you might put a medical professional in charge,” Klobuchar said to laughter from the audience at a CNN town hall.
  • A day after a raucous final debate before Saturday's key primary in the Palmetto State, Joe Biden rolled out a major endorsement from the most influential black Democrat in South Carolina, while Bernie Sanders said Biden does not have the ability to defeat President Trump in November. 'Jim, you better hope I don't win because you're going to be the busiest man in the world,' Biden told Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), just before Clyburn officially weighed in on behalf of Biden. 'I know Joe Biden. I know his character, his heart, and his record,' Clyburn said, as he urged black voters to back the former Vice President this weekend. 'We know Joe. But more importantly, he knows us,' Clyburn added. During a stop in Georgetown, a small port town up the coast from Charleston, Biden urged voters to turn out and vote on Saturday. “Take back the country - now,” Biden said, his voice rising. Before a group of local officials and voters, Biden made clear his dislike for President Trump - 'he's more George Wallace than George Washington' - and gently chided Bernie Sanders with familiar jabs on health care and gun control. 'God Bless Bernie,' Biden said, reminding voters that Sanders has made big promises which cost trillions of dollars. 'I'm not picking on Bernie or those who are for Medicare For All, I just think it's a little bit of honesty about what in fact, things are going to cost - who is going to pay for it,' Biden said. While Biden looked to consolidate his support among African-American voters, Sanders rushed across the state to sign up more people for his election crusade. 'Some of you may have recently heard that the establishment is getting very, very nervous about our movement,' Sanders said at a rally in North Charleston. While Sanders mainly focused on President Trump, the independent Senator from Vermont also added in some new jabs at Biden to Wednesday's stump speech. 'Same old, same old, is not going to do it,' Sanders said, making the argument that Biden is not going to bring enough new voters into the Democratic Party to defeat President Trump in November. 'And I say to my good friend, Joe Biden - Joe, you can't do it,' Sanders added, making the case that he is the only candidate who can win the White House. 'Joe is a friend of mine and a decent guy, but that is not the voting record or the history that is going to excite people, bring them into the political process, and beat Trump,' Sanders added. Polls in South Carolina show Biden and Sanders far ahead of the field, with only Tom Steyer - who has spent large amounts of money on advertising in this state - in striking distance of the two leaders. Steyer and Biden were about four blocks from each other in Georgetown, as Steyer spoke to a small, racially mixed crowd at a black church several blocks from the water. 'I've been here more than anyone else,' Steyer said of his attention to South Carolina, as his visits combined with a lot of television ads have propelled him into the mix here - unlike any other state so far. Steyer rattled off his work on impeachment and blasted President Trump at every opportunity, calling him incompetent. 'He stinks on the economy,' Steyer said. Only a few blocks away, both men had essentially the same message for their audiences in Georgetown. 'South Carolina gets a huge voice on Saturday,' Steyer said. 'Get up and take back the country!' Biden implored.
  • For the first time in the 2020 Democratic Party race for President, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took the brunt of the attacks on stage, as the front runner was bluntly accused of being so liberal on a variety of issues that a Sanders nomination would cause more moderate Democrats in Congress to lose their seats in Congress. 'They are running away from your platform as fast as they possibly can,' Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said to Sanders, drawing cheers from the debate audience. The verbal battle got so heated at times - as the CBS moderators struggled to keep control of the debate - that Buttigieg, Sanders, and others simply talked over each other repeatedly, making it hard to hear what was going on. Here's a quick look at how each of the seven candidates fared on stage Tuesday night. + BERNIE SANDERS. Sanders might have been bloodied, but he certainly wasn't beaten down by the other Democrats on stage, though the independent Vermont Senator seemed to be tiring of the attacks late in the debate, as he yelled more and more loudly. 'Hey, Amy,' he roared at one point, trying to push back at Amy Klobuchar. 'Really?' Sanders said as he was jeered at one point by the audience - another time Sanders was booed when he criticized Joe Biden while debating gun control. But whether it was his words about Fidel Castro and Cuba, or his plans for Medicare For All, Sanders was not apologizing for where he's been - or where he wants to go. + JOE BIDEN. Biden did not mince any words when pressed about how he needed to do on Saturday in South Carolina. 'I will win,' the former Vice President said, in a Joe Namath Super Bowl victory guarantee. It may have been Biden's best debate so far, as he jabbed at Sanders repeatedly - 'Bernie in fact hasn't passed much of anything' - and again raised questions about how Sanders has dealt with gun control legislation. When the debates began last summer, Biden would always nicely follow the rules and stop talking when his time was up. But by debate number ten on Tuesday night, he was done with that. 'Why am I stopping? No one else stops,' Biden told the CBS moderators. + ELIZABETH WARREN. Warren had the most unique game plan at the debate, as she spent very little time talking about why she would be good as President, but spent a lot of time trashing former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Every chance Warren got, she turned a topic into a referendum on Bloomberg. Why hasn't he released his taxes. What about non-disclosure agreements with his employees. She accused Bloomberg of racism on housing. In fact, Warren's attacks went so far that some in the crowd jeered her at one point as she launched a new attack on Bloomberg. The closest she got to saying anything bad about Sanders was when she said, 'Bernie and I agree on a lot of things, but I think I would make a better President than Bernie.' + PETE BUTTIGIEG. Maybe the most effective in leading the charge against Sanders in the debate was Buttigieg, as the two often talked over each other in a battle of wits between the 78 year old Senator and the 38 year old Mayor. Buttigieg mocked the idea that Sanders could win in November, portraying his nomination as a toxic brew which could cost Democrats control of the House, and the defeat of dozens of more moderate Democratic lawmakers elected in 2018. 'Stop acting like the presidency is the only office that matters,' Buttigieg chastised Sanders. One thing Buttigieg did not repeat from last week in Las Vegas was his mini battles with Amy Klobuchar. + AMY KLOBUCHAR. While Amy Klobuchar repeatedly tried to explain how she had been working on issues big and small in the Congress, she did not pull any punches about Bernie Sanders, joining attacks from others that Sanders could be a big liability in November up and down the ballot. 'I like Bernie,' Klobuchar said. 'But I do not believe this is the best person to lead the ticket.'  Klobuchar will campaign in South Carolina on Wednesday, but then leave the state to look for votes in some of the states which vote on Super Tuesday, March 3. + TOM STEYER. While Steyer is not a major force around the country, he has been polling strongly in third place here in the Palmetto State - which means that his debate effort could have a bigger impact on Saturday's vote. Steyer has also made some inroads in the black community in South Carolina, maybe grabbing some votes away from Joe Biden. Both men will be campaigning within a few blocks of each other on Wednesday. + MICHAEL BLOOMBERG. In his second debate, Bloomberg did not repeat his first debate performance, which was widely panned, though he struggled to deliver some one liners which fell flat.  During this debate, Bloomberg again found himself under fire from Elizabeth Warren, but tried to use his time on the debate stage to raise questions about Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump instead. Remember - Bloomberg is not even on the ballot in South Carolina, as he is focused on the Super Tuesday states of March 3.
  • While Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took the most flak at Tuesday night's Democratic Party debate in South Carolina, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) ran against the grain of others on stage, repeatedly attacking Michael Bloomberg as she did in a debate last week in Nevada. 'I don't care how much money Mayor Bloomberg has,' Warren said at one point in the debate. 'The core of the Democratic Party will never trust him.' 'Is Warren running to win the nomination or to be Bernie’s wingman?' tweeted political analyst Stu Rothenberg, as Warren spent more time attacking Bloomberg than talking about why she should be President. 'Warren can slay Bloomberg, but what does she get out of it?' said Joe Lockhart, a former White House Press Secretary under President Barack Obama. In one exchange with Bloomberg, Warren pressed the former New York mayor so much that some in the crowd began jeering the Massachusetts Senator. As the debate began, Warren made the case that she was the better progressive choice than Sanders, but did not try to tear down the Independent Senator from Vermont. 'Bernie and I agree on a lot of things, but I think I would make a better president than Bernie,' Warren said. 'Progressives have got one shot. And we need to spend it with a leader who will get something done,' Warren added, as the closest she came to criticizing Sanders directly came as she accused Sanders aides of attacking her. 'And then Bernie's team trashed me for it,' Warren said. But after that - it was almost all about Bloomberg. The polls in South Carolina have not shown much in the way of promise for Warren, as she's been mired in a battle for fourth place with Pete Buttigieg, well behind Joe Biden, Sanders, and Tom Steyer.