Elizabeth Warren tore into Bloomberg at the Democratic debate for linking the end of a discriminatory housing practice to the 2008 financial crisis

Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty ImagesElizabeth Warren pressed Michael Bloomberg on his company’s treatment of women
  • Warren torched Bloomberg at Thursday’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas over his past comments linking the end of redlining to the 2008 financial crisis.
  • “When Mayor Bloomberg was busy blaming African Americans and Latinos for the housing crash of 2008, I was right here in Las Vegas, just a few blocks down the street holding hearings, she said.
  • Warren said last week Bloomberg’s past position on the cause of the housing collapse should disqualify him from the Democratic nomination.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren scorched former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg on Wednesday evening for linking the end of a discriminatory housing practice known as “redlining” to the 2008 financial crisis.

The Massachussetts senator pilloried Bloomberg on numerous issues at the ninth Democratic debate in Las Vegas. They included his previous support of harsh “stop and frisk” policing tactics and allegations of coarse treatment of women.

But Warren also saw an opening to confront Bloomberg on the recently resurfaced remarks he made a decade ago, when he blamed Congress encouraging lending to minority communities as a cause of the housing collapse.

“When Mayor Bloomberg was busy blaming African Americans and Latinos for the housing crash of 2008, I was right here in Las Vegas, just a few blocks down the street holding hearings … Banks … were taking away homes from millions of families,” she said.

Bloomberg said he was “against” redlining, and appeared to call his own assessment “exactly wrong,” reversing his position and blaming Wall Street.

“The financial crisis came about because the people that took the mortgages packaged them and other people bought them,” the billionaire media executive said on the debate stage. “That was where the disaster was.”

Redlining was a government-backed practice when bankers would draw lines on a map to declare neighbourhoods off-limits for lending. It was aimed at low-income and minority communities.

Back in 2008, Bloomberg was asked to explain the cause of the financial crash at a Georgetown University forum, and he responded that the end of redlining and federal intervention sparked the crash.

“And then Congress got involved – local elected officials, as well – and said, ‘Oh that’s not fair, these people should be able to get credit.’ And once you started pushing in that direction, banks started making more and more loans where the credit of the person buying the house wasn’t as good as you would like,” he said at the time.

Experts have since noted that predatory lending practices targeted black and Latino homeowners, pushing a disproportionate share of them into foreclosure.

The Bloomberg campaign previously defended the former mayor’s record in a statement to Business Insider and pointed to his plan to increase black homeownership.

The debate stage wasn’t the first time Warren pounced on Bloomberg over redlining. She said last week the comments should disqualify him from the Democratic nomination.

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