Sanders on Warren’s Claim That He Said a Woman Can’t Become President: ‘I Didn’t Say It’

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) disputed Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) claim that he told her last year that a woman couldn’t become president.

“As a matter of fact, I didn’t say it,” Sanders said at the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night.

“Anybody knows me knows it is incomprehensible that I wouldn’t think that a woman could be president of the United States,” he continued, referencing a video circulating this week showing him decades ago saying a woman should be president.

“Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three million votes. How could anybody in a million years not believe that a woman could become president of the United States?” Sanders wondered, adding that he “deferred” to Warren in 2015 and only ran after she decided not to. He said that he would support any woman who wins the nomination.

Warren said that Sanders did tell her that a woman couldn’t win the election.

“I disagreed” at the time,” Warren said of the December 2018 meeting. “Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie. But, look, this question of whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it’s time to address it head-on.”

She said that the men on the debate stage collectively “lost 10 elections.”

“The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they have been in are the women,” she said. Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) were the only women on the stage, along with four men.

L-R) Democratic presidential hopefuls billionaire-philanthropist Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) stand on stage ahead of the seventh Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season at the Drake University campus in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 14, 2020. (Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

Warren then noted that she’d defeated an incumbent Republican in an election.

“The real danger that 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 the Democratic party, bring everyone in, and give everyone a Democrat to believe in—that’s my plan, and that is why I’m going to win,” Warren said.

Sanders later rejoined that he had beaten a Republican incumbent in 1990. Sanders declined to attack Warren, saying, “The real question is: How can we beat Trump.”

Warren said she agreed.

Klobuchar told the audience that she tells doubters that there are women in high positions around the country, citing the female governors in Kansas and Michigan.

“You have to be competent to win, and you have to know what you’re doing. And when you look at what I have done, I have won every race, every place, every time. I have won in the reddest of districts. I have won in the suburban areas, the rural areas,” Klobuchar added.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

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