News and Commentary

Here’s What Insiders Allege Warren And Sanders Said During That Tense Post-Debate Exchange
DES MOINES, IOWA - JANUARY 14: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speak as Tom Steyer looks on after the Democratic presidential primary debate at Drake University on January 14, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. Six candidates out of the field qualified for the first Democratic presidential primary debate of 2020, hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Reports from various insiders associated with the Warren and Sanders campaigns are beginning to trickle out what the two U.S. senators allegedly told each other during that tense exchange following the debate Tuesday night in which the two traded blows over the details of a private conversation back in 2018. Here’s what the New York Times reported on Wednesday:

People familiar with the exchange said Ms. Warren walked over and told Mr. Sanders that she was concerned that, during the debate, he had mischaracterized a conversation they had in 2018 about whether a woman could win the presidency. She has accused him of saying that a woman could not; he has denied that remark.

Appearing frustrated, Mr. Sanders asked to discuss the matter at a different time, said the people, who insisted on anonymity to discuss a sensitive, private conversation. He pointed his finger toward her, then back at himself, before turning and walking away.

Both the Warren and Sanders campaigns declined to comment on Wednesday.

The report provides more clarity to the situation after presidential candidate Tom Steyer told reporters that he could not hear what the pair discussed despite clearly being beside them both during the exchange.

“I was just going up to say good night. And I felt like OK, there’s something going on. Good night! I’m out of here! I really wasn’t listening,” Steyer told CNN. “I really didn’t listen. It was one of those awkward moments where I felt like, you know, I need to move on as fast as possible. You could see it was an awkward moment. My goal was simply to say good night to two people I respect. The last thing I wanted to do was get in between the two of them and try and listen in. That was not my goal and I didn’t do it.”

Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate reached a dramatic high-point when CNN moderator Abby Philip asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to address a recent report alleging that he told Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) back in 2018 that a woman could not win the presidency against Donald Trump.

“So, Senator Sanders, I do want to be clear here, you’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?” Phillips asked the Vermont senator.

“That is correct,” Sanders replied.

Phillips then proceeded to ask Warren how she felt during her conversation with Bernie as if the story were clearly true.

“Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?” asked Phillips, tacitly painting Sanders as a liar.

“I disagreed,” Warren replied. “Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie. But, look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it’s time for us to attack it head-on.”

“The best way to talk about who can win is by looking at people’s winning record. So, can a woman beat Donald Trump? Look at the men on this stage,” she continued. “Collectively, they have lost 10 elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women.”

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