Trump and Bloomberg spar on Twitter ahead of debate

Hours before former Michael Bloomberg will take the debate stage for the first time in his presidential campaign, the former New York City mayor and President Trump traded online insults Wednesday as the feud between the two simmers and Bloomberg rises in the polls.

"Is corrupt Bloomberg News going to say what a pathetic debater Mini Mike is, that he doesn’t respect our great farmers, or that he has violated campaign finance laws at the highest and most sinister level with 'payoffs' all over the place?" Trump tweeted.

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Trump has repeatedly dug at Bloomberg over the fact he has yet to appear on a Democratic debate stage. The billionaire from New York, who is fighting for the right to run against the billionaire from New York currently occupying the White House, entered the presidential race in November and was kept out of the debates due to Democratic National Committee rules that required candidates to have a certain number of individual donors to qualify.

But the party changed the rules for Wednesday's Las Vegas Debate late last month, allowing candidates who register at 10 percent or higher in four qualifying national polls onto the debate stage.

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In response to Trump's explicit jab at his debating ability and veiled jab at the news organization he owns, which has vowed not to investigate any Democrats running in 2020 -- while continuing to investigate Trump -- Bloomberg brought up the fact Trump is part of an infamous group which only includes former Presidents Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson.

"Impeached president says what?" Bloomberg tweeted.

Among Trump's previous debate-related insults aimed at Bloomberg, the president speculated that Bloomberg was negotiating with the DNC for permission to stand on a box during any debate appearance, a dig a Bloomberg's height.

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In one of the president's height comments, Trump said, "Mini Mike is a 5'4" mass of dead energy who does not want to be on the debate stage with these professional politicians. No boxes please." Bloomberg responded by telling Trump their mutual friends were talking behind his back.

"[Trump] - we know many of the same people in NY," Bloomberg tweeted. "Behind your back they laugh at you & call you a carnival barking clown. They know you inherited a fortune & squandered it with stupid deals and incompetence. I have the record & the resources to defeat you. And I will."

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Bloomberg has spent over $400 million on his campaign, mainly in delegate-rich Super Tuesday states, which has allowed him to quickly rise national Democratic polls despite the fact he has not secured a pledged delegate. On track to spend more on than any presidential candidate in history, Bloomberg has become a real threat to win the Democratic primary and challenge Trump in November.

The former mayor earned 14 percent national support in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday morning, placing him third behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden. Bloomberg registered above Biden with a second-place 19 percent tally in an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Tuesday, which allowed him to meet the DNC's requirements for the Las Vegas debate on the last day candidates could qualify.

Trump's attacks on Bloomberg have ratcheted up as Bloomberg's poll numbers have increased. They seem unlikely to stop as Super Tuesday, the first day in which Bloomberg is likely to earn delegates to the Democratic National Convention, approaches on March 3.