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Warren to Sanders: ‘You Called Me a Liar on National TV’

What was said right before the post-debate handshake that wasn't.

by David Gilbert
Jan 16 2020, 12:34pm

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It was the only question anyone wanted answered after Tuesday night’s Democratic debate in Des Moines, Iowa: What did Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren say to each other before they walked away without shaking hands?

Well, now we know.

“I think you called me a liar on national TV,” Warren said to Sanders, who responded by saying “You called me a liar” before saying the pair should not be having the discussion right now.

The exchange was initially only seen and not heard, because CNN’s primary audio feed from the candidates' podiums did not pick up what was said.

But on Wednesday, “CNN did an inventory of the audio equipment that was used and found two backup recordings from the microphones Sanders and Warren were wearing,” according to an account from the broadcaster.

CNN published the audio on Wednesday evening and here’s how the conversation played out:

Warren: “I think you called me a liar on national TV.”

Sanders: “What?”

Warren: “I think you called me a liar on national TV.”

Sanders: “You know, let's not do it right now. You want to have that discussion, we'll have that discussion.”

Warren: “Any time.”

Sanders: “You called me a liar. You told me — all right, let's not do it now.”

At this point, Tom Steyer, who has been standing in the background listening to the exchange, interrupts, saying: “I don't want to get in the middle of it. I just want to say hi, Bernie.”

Sanders, turning away, says: “Yeah — good, OK.” Steyer replies: “It was a treat to see you.”

The disagreement, which was amplified on social media because no one knew exactly what had happened, was the continuation of an argument the pair had been having in recent days.

READ: How Twitter’s algorithm poured gas on the Bernie-Warren spat

The argument centers on a conversation the pair had in 2018, during which Warren claims Sanders told her that a woman couldn’t win the presidency. The issue was raised during the debate again on Tuesday and Warren confirmed her recollection of the meeting, while Sanders once again denied he said it.

READ: War, women, and that handshake left hanging: 5 things we learned during the Democratic debate

Warren and Sanders have yet to respond to the latest revelations, but Steyer appears to be reveling in his small role:

Cover: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., left and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talk Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, after a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. Candidate businessman Tom Steyer looks on (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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