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Veiled Shot at Hillary Clinton? Elizabeth Warren Says Trump Won’t Debate ‘A Woman Who Is Not Afraid of Him’

Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren took what some are interpreting as a veiled shot at former Secretary of State and 2016 presidential popular vote winner Hillary Clinton when she said that President Donald Trump would not want to share a debate stage with “a woman who is not afraid of him.”

Senator Warren took questions at a town hall event in Burlington, IA this week, including from a woman named Terri in warm-looking boots who asked “How can we handle his bullying on the stage, which makes it seem like the Jerry Springer show rather than dealing with the issues of today?”

Warren began by promising “I will outwork, out-organize, and outlast Donald Trump or anybody the Republicans end up with,” adding that “I’m a fighter.”

She then pointed out that “it’s not at all clear to me that Donald Trump is going to show up for the debates” and said Trump “has always had a problem with people who challenge him and he spent the last three years, getting deeper and deeper in his own bubble and firing anybody who crosses him even a little tiny bit.”

“This is not a man who is going to want to walk on a debate stage with a woman who is not afraid of him,” Warren said, a remark that many took as a shot at Hillary Clinton, if replies to a clip of the remarks — posted by Fox News embed Tara Prindiville — are any indication.

Perhaps a more charitable interpretation might be that Trump learned a lesson from Hillary standing up to him at the debates, keeping her cool as he stalked the stage behind her, and as polls showed,overwhelmingly defeating Trump in all three debates. But then she could have just said that.

There’s also ample evidence to support the theory that this was a dig at Clinton, like the fact that she’s said something similar at least once before. In August, Warren was similarly asked about doing battle with Trump, and she replied that “I know how to fight and I know how to win. Nobody’s getting behind me on a debate stage and doing a handsy thing.”

Warren has run afoul of Hillary Clinton supporters several times, as when she told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the 2016 Democratic primary was “rigged” in Secretary Clinton’s favor, and against Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (it wasn’t).

Warren also told PBS’ Judy Woodruff that same day that “The process was rigged and now it is up to Democrats to build a new process, a process that really works and works for everyone.”

And in yet another interview, with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, she agreed that the primary was rigged against Sanders, and riffed for several minutes on how it was up to DNC Chairman Tom Perez to make sure that Sanders supporters who believed this were “satisfied” with the new rules.

“If that doesn’t happen, we got a real problem!” she said.

Warren’s assertions delighted Trump, who showed his appreciation by launching a racist attack on Native Americans while promoting the attack on Hillary Clinton.

It wasn’t until several days after those nationally televised accusations that Warren walked her comments back in an interview with a local newspaper.

But in a way, Warren has already met Trump on a debate stage and lost — albeit a hypothetical one. At a rally last year, Trump — again deploying the racist “Pocahontas” slur — goaded Warren by threatening to throw a DNA test kit at her during a debate, were she to become the nominee.

The racism displayed by her opponents had worked to Warren’s advantage to that point, largely shielding her from the controversy around her past claims of Native American heritage, but she took Trump’s bait, took a DNA test, and it was a political disaster for her from which she’s still trying to recover.

There’s no telling what stunt Trump might pull now, or what Warren’s reaction would be, but it’s worth remembering that when she was pressed about the issue in 2012, Warren clained she had “lots of pictures” reflecting her Native American heritage.

Whatever Warren’s intentions are with these remarks, it might be wise to remember that not only did Hillary Clinton get 4 million more votes than Bernie Sanders and three million more votes than Donald Trump, she also topped a hypothetical Democratic primary poll two weeks ago at 21 percent. Warren scored 9 percent in that same poll, and Sanders got 12 percent.

Watch the full question and answer above via ABC News.

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