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'You called me a liar': Audio of row between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren released

The two appeared to engage in a war of words after a debate on Monday night.

Democratic presidential candidates Warren and Bernie Sanders after the debate on Tuesday night
Democratic presidential candidates Warren and Bernie Sanders after the debate on Tuesday night
Image: Patrick Semansky/PA Images

ELIZABETH WARREN ACCUSED her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders of calling her a liar before a national television audience during a post-debate exchange in which she refused to shake his outstretched hand, according to audio released by CNN.

The rivals for the party’s presidential nomination are both progressives who had steadfastly refused to attack each other for more than a year on the campaign trail.

But that changed on Monday, when Warren said that during a private meeting between the two in 2018, he disagreed with her that a woman could win the presidency.

Sanders, a senator from Vermont, has denied that, and did so again during Tuesday night’s presidential debate, which was hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Iowa, whose first-in-the-nation caucuses are on 3 February.

Warren stood by her account and said it was time to confront the larger issues of sexism in politics.

That exchange lasted only a few minutes, but after the debate was over, Warren, a Massachusetts senator, approached Sanders, who put out his hand for her to shake. Instead, she confronted him, and the two talked briefly in tense tones.

Neither campaign would confirm what was said on Tuesday, but CNN released the audio on Wednesday. While she refused his extended hand, Warren repeated: “I think you called me a liar on national television.”

Sanders gently brushed her with his hand, then said: “Let’s not do it right now.”

“You want to have that discussion?” he continued. “We’ll have that discussion.” Warren replied: “Any time.”

Sanders then added, “You called me a liar”, before concluding “Alright, let’s not do it now.”

Source: CNN/YouTube

The exchange was interrupted by fellow candidate and environmentalist Tom Steyer, who said, “I don’t want to get in the middle of it” and greeted Sanders as the senator walked away.

Aides for Warren and Sanders have for days attempted to de-escalate the feud as some progressives worry that ill will between the cause’s two leading voices will ultimately hurt both of them and could benefit more moderate Democratic presidential hopefuls such as former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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