All eyes were turned to Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as candidates took the stage in Tuesday's Democratic debate, just a day after progressive rivals made headlines for Sanders' alleged 2018 comment to Warren that a woman could not defeat President Donald Trump. Prior to the debate, Sanders vehemently denied saying that a woman could not win by 2020, while Warren subtly confirmed in a statement he had. And when Tuesday's debate turned into discrepancy, it really didn't clarify anything.
When asked if he had told Warren in 2018 that a woman could not be elected president, Sanders once again insisted, "I did not say that." "Those who know me know it's incomprehensible that I think a woman might not be president of the United States," Sanders said. "Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three million votes, as someone in a million years would not believe that could a woman become president of the United States? "CNN moderator and anchor Abby Phillip turned to Warren, asking," What did you think when Senator Sanders told you that a woman could not win the election? Warren, not giving up his side of the narrative, replied, "I disagreed."
However, the disagreement did not lead to fireworks, as some expected. "Bernie is my friend and I'm not here to try to fight Bernie," said Warren. Instead of dwelling on who is telling the truth, Warren has devoted himself to the question of women's eligibility, recognizing that "it is time for us to attack head on." She noted that candidates must be judged by their "winning records" – and pointed out that "the only people at this stage who have won all the elections they have been to are women." She added: “The only person at this stage who defeated an incumbent Republican at any time in the past. 30 years is me, ”and emphasized the need for a candidate“ who excites all parts of the Democratic party, brings everyone inside and gives everyone a Democrat to believe in. ”
Senator Amy Klobuchar, the only other candidate on stage, also defended her own eligibility, emphasizing that to win, "you need to be competent and you need to know what you are doing." Warren also pointed to the power of women candidates and voters in the interim periods of 2018, including the governor's victories for Democratic women in Michigan and Kansas. "Since Donald Trump was elected, women candidates have outnumbered men in competitive races," Warren said. "Look, I don't deny that the question is there. In the 1960s, people were asking, could a Catholic victory. In 2008, people asked if an African-American could win. Both times the Democratic Party approached and said yes, it was behind the candidate and we changed America. That's who we are. "
Tuesday's exchange between Warren and Sanders was emblematic of a broadly cordial debate between the two main progressives, despite fears that their fervent arguments might hit the stage. Their mutual restraint seems to represent a conscious decision by the two senators to contain any sign of discord. Following the initial explosion of CNN history, both Sanders and Warren campaigns directed surrogates and volunteers to reduce attacks on each other.