Tom Steyer insists he didn't listen in on the tense Bernie-Warren post-debate moment he wandered into

Peter Weber

As the Democratic presidential candidates were glad-handing one another after Tuesday night's debate in Des Moines, Tom Steyer ambled into a very intense-looking conversation between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who had not accepted Sanders' handshake. The Daily Show captured the moment with one emoji and a Wizard of Oz gif.



"At the end of the debate, you sort of ended up in the middle of this" moment between Warren and Sanders, CNN's Anderson Cooper prompted Steyer after the debate. "What occurred there?" "Look, I was just going up to say good night to Sen. Sanders," he said. "And I felt like, 'Okay, there's something going on here, good night, I'm outta here.'" Cooper asked more directly, "But what were they arguing about?" And Steyer insisted, "I really wasn't listening."

If you think that sounds unlikely, you aren't alone. "What? How can you not hear Bernie Sanders?" asked CNN's Gloria Borger. "They were talking about getting together or something. I really didn't listen," Steyer insisted. "It was one of those awkward moments where I felt like, 'You know, I need to move on here as fast as possible.'" When Borger asked if he "really didn't" listen, Steyer stuck to his guns: "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."

CNN's Chris Cuomo still wasn't buying Steyer's story. "As a reporter, I know that he knows what they said," he said later in the night. He and his panel agreed that Warren had hit debate gold when she pivoted from the he said, she said dispute with Sanders to make her case that a woman can be elected president. Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm called it the "best moment of the night, clearly," and former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum said that Warren "makes a very, very persuasive case" that the U.S. will elect a woman president, rebutting what's "frankly" the "biggest argument against her right now."

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