Warren Confronted Sanders After Debate About Calling Her a Liar

Max Berley

(Bloomberg) -- Elizabeth Warren accused Bernie Sanders of calling her a liar during a confrontation after the Democratic debate on Tuesday, breaching a longstanding nonaggression pact between the two progressive candidates.

Audio released Wednesday by CNN, which co-hosted the debate in Des Moines, Iowa, revealed that Sanders and Warren were continuing a dispute that began even before the debate after she said he had told her that a woman could not be elected president in 2020.

During the debate, he denied ever making the remark, while Warren reasserted that he had, in fact, done so.

Warren told Sanders: “I think you called me a liar on national TV.”

“What?” Sanders responded.

“I think you called me a liar on national TV,” Warren repeated.

“You know, let’s not do it right now. If you want to have that discussion, we’ll have that discussion,” Sanders said, to which Warren replied, “Anytime.”

“You called me a liar,” Sanders continued. “You told me -- all right, let’s not do it now.”

The dispute marked the unraveling of what amounted to a tacit agreement between the two Democratic presidential candidates not to criticize each other. But their alliance, which centered on health care and other issues, had been fraying over the past week.

The tense interaction occurred as all the candidates were congratulating one another on the debate stage, and was broadcast live without sound. Warren could be seen walking toward Sanders, as he stretched out his hand to her. But instead of taking it, she clasped her hands together. They then appeared to have the brief conversation.

The disagreement over Sanders’ comments in a private meeting in 2018 followed a report last week that Sanders had been trying to undercut Warren’s campaign.

Politico reported that the Sanders campaign gave talking points to volunteers criticizing Warren as the candidate of “highly-educated, more affluent people,” suggesting she couldn’t bring new voters into the party. She fired back over the weekend that she was “disappointed” that he had instructed his campaign to “trash” her to voters.

To contact the reporter on this story: Max Berley in Washington at mberley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, John Harney, Max Berley

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