After Tuesday night’s debate in Iowa, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders shared an undeniably tense moment on stage as the old white Senator from Vermont sought to shake hands with the old white Senator from Massachusetts, and she quite clearly rebuffed the gesture before the two had a short discussion.
Caught in the middle of this awkward exchange was Tom Steyer, and you can almost feel sorry for him as this was going on.
As the two spoke, Warren can be seen holding her hands together, as if to subliminally tell Sanders, “Don’t even think about trying that again.”
“This is not warm and cuddly,” remarked former Obama adviser David Axelrod about the exchange.
Tom Steyer was asked about that tense moment in the Spin Room afterward, and while he claimed he didn’t know what they were talking about, he didn’t deny the tension of the moment. “I was just going up to say goodnight,” Steyer said and laughed. “And I felt like, okay, there’s something going on here, I’m out of here.”
He said the same thing to Chris Matthews as well: “I don’t know what they were saying. All I was trying to say was to both Senator Warren and Senator Sanders was, ‘It was great to see you. Thank you for participating in this.’ Whatever they were going on between each other [sic], I was trying to get out of the way as fast as possible.”
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CNN’s debate moderators had brought up the issue of Bernie’s alleged comment that a woman couldn’t win the White House. “Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it,” Sanders said. “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 who knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States.”
Warren, however, didn’t back down. She stood by her story and then proceeded with an obviously rehearsed defense of women candidates and their ability to win elections. “So, can a woman beat Donald Trump? Look at the men on this stage. Collectively, they have lost ten elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women.”
Sources familiar with the conversation between Sanders and Warren say that Sanders did not make the comment Warren alleges.
After this incident, both #WarrenIsASnake and #NeverWarren trended on Twitter.
Needless to say, the Sanders/Warren feud continues.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis