Bernie Sanders again denied telling Elizabeth Warren, during a private 2018 dinner, that he did not believe a woman could win the presidency.
“I didn’t say it,” Sanders said. Warren, who has confirmed what four sources told CNN that he did say it, stood by her account – and again said that she “disagreed.”
When asked about the conversation, Warren sough to tamp down the brewing feud, calling Sanders a “friend” that she wasn’t there to “fight with,” before pivoting to an argument underscoring the electoral prowess of the female candidates on the stage – her and Amy Klobuchar.
“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,” Warren said. “I think 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: 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.”
There were little fireworks as the leading progressive presidential contenders, both icons to the broader movement, were faced live on the debate stage with an issue that has threatened to blow up a long-held, if fragile, détente between their campaigns.
Sanders pointed to his past remarks, and the run-up to the 2016 primary, as evidence he believes a woman can be president.
“I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on this because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want,” he said. “But anybody who knows me, knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman could not be president to the United States. Go to YouTube today. They have some video of me 30 years ago talking about how a woman could become president of the United States. In 2015, I deferred, in fact, to Sen. Warren. There was a movement to draft Sen. Warren to run for president.”
Warren chose not to seek the nomination that year and, as Sanders again noted, Hillary Clinton went on to win the primary and then the popular vote in the general election by three million votes.