Elizabeth Warren Reportedly Confronted Sanders for ‘Mischaracterizing’ Private Meeting In Viral Post-Debate Moment


Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren reportedly sought to confront Bernie Sanders for “mischaracterizing” their December 2018 meeting but was rebuffed by Sanders rebuffed in a post-debate exchange that went viral, and which did not feature audio.

Tuesday night’s CNN/Des Moines Register Democratic presidential debate concluded with a viral moment in which Warren approached Sanders but declined to shake his hand, and the pair spoke for a few seconds. Sanders gesticulating at Warren as he responded, then put his hands up and walked off as billionaire Tom Steyer tried to say goodnight to both of them.

The exchange set off immediate speculation about the content of that exchange that has been slowly filled in by other reporting, since Sanders and Warren themselves left the debate site without speaking to reporters, and have not commented publicly since.

Sanders’ campaign manager told The Washington Post Tuesday night that Warren “came to raise a concern, and [Sanders] said let’s talk about that later,” and Steyer gave few details about what he heard, other than to tell CNN “They were talking about getting together or something, I really didn’t listen.”

The New York Times now reports that according to sources, Warren approached Sanders about “mischaracterizing” their 2018 meeting earlier in the debate, and a “frustrated” Sanders suggested another time might be better:

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.

Tuesday night’s debate was the culmination of an intense 24 hours during which a bombshell story emerged that Sanders had told Warren — during a private meeting in December of 2018 — that a woman can’t win the presidency against President Donald Trump.

Sanders responded by accusing the Warren campaign of leaking the story, and of “lying” about what happened at that meeting, so Warren was forced to set the record straight. In a statement, she confirmed that at that meeting, “Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win; he disagreed.”

The controversy came up during the debate, where Sanders repeated his denial, Senator Warren repeated her confirmation, then deftly pivoted to an empowering response about the electability of women.

The extent of Sanders’ comments during the debate about that 2018 meeting itself consisted of him saying “Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it,” and then responding to the follow-up “Sen. Sanders, I do want to be clear here, you’re saying that you never told Sen. Warren that a woman could not win the election?”

“That is correct,” Sanders said.

Watch the clip above via CNN.

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