Warren-Sanders put an end to woman president argument

After months of playing nice, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) mildly clashed at tonight’s debate.

Over the weekend, reports emerged that Sanders’ campaign was going negative on Warren. Then a story broke, seemingly leaked by the Warren campaign, that Sanders had told her in a private 2018 meeting that a woman couldn’t win the presidency, which he denied.

Some subsequently claimed they asked for their donations to be refunded from Warren’s campaign.

Nearly an hour into the debate, a moderator asked Sanders about the alleged statement.

Sanders again denied it, saying, “Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it.” He also claimed that he told Warren to run in 2016.

The moderator then turned to Warren and asked how she felt when Sanders said that.

“I disagreed,” she began. “Bernie is my friend and I’m not here to try to fight with Bernie.”

Warren went on to deliver one of the takeaway moments of the debate.

“Look at the men on this stage,” she said. “Collectively, they’ve lost 10 elections. The only people that have won every election they’ve been in are the women. [Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)] and me.”

Warming to her subject, she continued, “And the only person on this stage that has beat an incumbent Republican any time in the last 30 years is me.

“Here’s what I know: the real danger we face as Democrats is picking a candidate who can’t pull our party together or someone who takes for granted big parts of the Democratic constituency.

“We need a candidate who will excite all parts of our party and bring everyone in,” she concluded. “That’s my plan and that’s how I’m going to win.”

The short speech was well-received on Twitter, though some complained that the moderators had disregarded Sanders’ claim that he never made the statement in question.

“Let’s also appreciate the way Warren deftly pivoted that question to a larger point without further engaging in an argument that would have went nowhere,” tweeted Human Rights Campaign’s Charlotte Clymer. “That was truly masterful. She stuck the landing.”

Elizabeth Warren and her purple blazer came to win tonight,” said Natalie Montelongo, national political director for former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro, who recently endorsed Warren.

The contest between Sanders and Warren will undoubtedly be closely watched in coming weeks, with voting in Iowa just a few weeks away.

READ MORE: 

Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.