Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) used the final debate to forcefully deny an accusation from Sen. Elizabeth Warren that he once told her a woman will never be elected president.
During an exchange with CNN’s Abby Phillip, Sanders insisted he never said it.
When Phillip followed up, Sanders reiterated he never said it.
Despite this repeatedly denial, CNN’s Phillip then pivoted to Sen. Warren and asked what it felt like when Sanders “told you a woman could not win the election?”
Here’s a rush transcript of the exchange:
PHILLIP: “Let’s now turn to — let’s now turn to an issue that’s come up in the last 48 hours. Senator Sanders, CNN reported yesterday, and senator Sanders — senator Warren confirmed in a statement — that in 2018, you told their you did not believe that woman could win the election. Why did you say that?”
SANDERS: “Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it. And I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want. Anybody knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States. Go to YouTube today. There’s a video of me 30 years ago talking about how a woman could become president of the United States. In 2015, I deferred, in fact, to senator Warren. It was a movement to draft senator Warren to run for president. And you know what, I stayed back. Senator Warren decided not to run, and I then did run afterwards. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million votes. How could anybody in a million years not believe that a woman could become president of the United States? And let me be very clear. If any of the women on this stage or any of the men on this stage win the nomination, I hope that’s not the case, I hope it’s me, but if they do, I will do everything in my power to make sure that they are elected in order to defeat the most dangerous president in the history of our country.”
[ Applause ]
PHILLIP: “So Senator Sanders, I do want to be clear here, you’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?
SANDERS: “That is correct.”
PHILLIP: “Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?”
WARREN: “I disagreed. Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie.”
Here’s video of CNN’s Phillip ignoring Sanders’ denial and asking Warren to respond as if her accusation has been verified:
The treatment is notable as CNN is one of the news outlets that promoted Warren’s original accusation.