Statement Analysis®

Did Bernie Sanders tell Elizabeth Warren a woman couldn't win the Presidential election?

In December 2018, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren had a private meeting to discuss their plans for the 2020 presidential election. In this meeting, Senator Sanders allegedly said to Senator Warren that he believed a woman couldn't win the presidency of the United States. This allegation came to light this month conveniently just before the final Democratic Debate which took place on January 14, 2020.

On January 13, 2020, CNN reported, "The description of that meeting is based on the accounts of four people: two people Warren spoke with directly soon after the encounter, and two people familiar with the meeting." Notice the description of the meeting is based on what four other people said and not what Senator Warren said.

That same day, Senator Warren commented on the meeting saying, "Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win; he disagreed." What is missing is Senator Warren quoting Senator Sanders. Because she only gave us a summary of what Senator Sanders said, there is room for misinterpretation. It's possible in their meeting Senator Warren said she believed a woman could win and Senator Sanders responded, "Maybe." While that type of comment is not in total agreement, it is also not a statement that a woman cannot win. We don't know what Senator Sanders said because Senator Warren won't tell us.

On January 14, 2020, the final Democratic Debate was held. CNN's Abby Phillip addressed the controversy. She said to Senator Sanders, "Senator Warren confirmed in a statement, that in 2018 you told her, that you did not believe a woman could win the election. Why did you say that?" Senator Sanders responded with the following.

"Well, as a matter of fact, I didn't say it. Ah, and I don't want to waste a whole lot of time on this. This is what Donald Trump, maybe some of the media want. Anybody knows me, knows that it is incomprehensible that I would think that a woman could not 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. There was a movement to draft Senator Warren to run for president. And you know what? I said, 'Stay back.' Senator Warrant decided not to run and I did. I did run afterwards.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three million votes. How could anybody in a million years, not believe a woman could not 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."

Senator Sanders gave a good denial; "I didn't say it." Yes, he expounded a little bit but the question called for that; "Why did you say that?"

Phillip then followed up on her question by asking 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?" Senator Sanders gave the following answer.

"That is correct."

Again, Senator Sanders gave a good answer. Phillip then addressed Senator Warren; "Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?" Senator Warren responded with the following.

"I disagreed. 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 would go on to say that we should look to see which Democratic candidate has the winning record.

After Senator Sanders denied saying a woman could not be elected, Phillip asked Senator Warren, "What did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?" You gotta love CNN! Senator Warren said she disagreed but we don't know exactly what was supposedly said to her. Unfortunately, Phillip didn't ask Senator Warren, "Did Senator Sanders tell you a woman could not be elected as President?" As with most debates, the moderators are not interested in getting to the truth.

Senator Warren stated the question about a woman president had been raised. That doesn't necessarily mean Senator Sanders raised the question. More than likely, Senator Warren is referring to the media.

Since I have not heard Senator Warren specifically state what Senator Sanders allegedly told her, I am going with Senator Sanders as being the truthful one. We know in the past Senator Warren has stretched the truth a little bit about her Indian heritage. She stretched the truth again on the debate stage when she said, "The only person on this stage who has beaten an incumbent Republican any time in the past 30 years is me." Senator Sanders would then correct her stating he beat an incumbent Republican in 1990.

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