Warren Accuses Sanders of Calling Her “A Liar on National TV,” Audio Reveals

The spat over whether Sanders allegedly said a woman couldn’t win an election against President Trump continues.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren accused Sen. Bernie Sanders of calling her a liar on national TV after the final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucuses, audio released by CNN on Wednesday revealed. 

The audio captured a tense exchange — released nearly 24 hours later — between the two candidates immediately after Tuesday’s debate hosted by CNN/Des Moines Register. The conversation was about the ongoing controversy over whether Sanders did or did not tell Warren that a woman could win an election against President Donald Trump — which became a central topic on the debate stage, too. 

According to the CNN audio, the exchange went like this:

“I think you called me a liar on national TV,”  Warren said.
“What?” Sanders responded.
"I think you called me a liar on national TV," she 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."

All the while, Tom Steyer hovered nearby as he tried to say hello to Sanders.

For background, the who-said-what has stemmed from a CNN report earlier this week that during a private meeting at Warren’s home in 2018, Sanders told Warren that he did not believe a woman could win an election against Trump. Warren later confirmed the report, while Sanders has vehemently denied it.

“What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could,” Sanders told CNN. “Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016."

When the Warren-Sanders squabble came up during Tuesday’s debate, Sanders said it was “incomprehensible” to think that he would believe a woman couldn’t win the presidency. Warren responded and used it as an opportunity to highlight her record of winning elections.

“Bernie is my friend and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie. But look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it’s time for us to attack it head on,” she said onstage. “...The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women, Amy and me.”

As the audio circulated, people on social media are naturally speculating whether this conflict is worth much attention — and if it inadvertently harms the progressive candidates’ likelihood of defeating Trump, or distracts from other more important problems like foreign affairs issues and Trump’s imminent impeachment trial in the Senate. Others have pointed out that the exchange was relatively civil and said that national media is blowing the feud out of proportion.