Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders trade dueling accounts of a December 2018 conversation on her presidential aspirations; Ellison Barber reports from Des Moines.
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren touted the female Democratic presidential candidates’ winning election records after opponent Bernie Sanders denied he had told Warren a woman could not win a presidential election during a 2018 meeting between the two senators.
“Can a woman beat Donald Trump?” Warren asked. “Look at the men on this stage. Collectively, they have lost 10 elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they have been in are the women — Amy [Klobuchar] and me.
“And the only person on this stage who has beaten an incumbent Republican any time in the past 30 years is me,” she continued, referencing her 2012 victory over former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass.
Sanders moments earlier had vehemently denied a report that he told Warren a woman couldn’t win the presidency, referencing in his defense a video of him decades ago talking about how women could be president. He also mentioned the fact Hillary Clinton garnered more popular votes in 2016 than Trump did, although Trump won the Electoral College.
“Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it,” Sanders said in response to a question from the CNN moderators asking him why he had made that statement to his fellow senator. “Anybody who knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman could not be President of the United States.”
‘Back in the 1960’s people asked could a Catholic win. Back in 2008 people asked if an African-American could win. And both times the Democratic Party stepped up and said, ‘yes,’ got behind their candidate and we changed America. That’s who we are.’
Later in the exchange, Warren touted the recent performance of female candidates the Democratic Party’s history of breaking barriers with its nominees for president, particularly in the cases of John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama.
“Since Donald Trump was elected president, women candidates have outperformed men candidates in competitive races, and in 2018 we took back the House, we took back state houses because of women candidates and women voters,” she said. “Back in the 1960’s people asked could a Catholic win. Back in 2008 people asked if an African-American could win. And both times the Democratic Party stepped up and said, ‘Yes,’ got behind their candidate and we changed America. That’s who we are.”
Tuesday’s debate is the last before the Iowa caucuses, meaning it is the last time Americans will see all the top candidates on the same stage before Democrat constituents start casting votes. The first-in-the-nation caucuses will take place on Feb. 3, kicking off the scramble for delegates after about a year of campaigning for most candidates in the primary.