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Warren, Sanders spar over her claim he said woman can't win presidency

Sanders again denied that he told Warren in a private 2018 meeting that a woman couldn’t win the presidency.

Elizabeth Warren is standing behind her charge that Bernie Sanders said a woman could not defeat Donald Trump. 

She made an energetic case for a female nominee in a Tuesday night debate that raised gender as a core issue in the Democrats' sprint to the Iowa caucuses. 

Sanders again denied that he told Warren in a private 2018 meeting that a woman couldn’t win the presidency. He called it “incomprehensible” that he would believe such a thing and said he didn’t want to “waste a whole lot of time” on the issue “because this is what Donald Trump ... wants.” He also committed to doing “everything in my power” to making sure the eventual nominee wins.

Warren has said Sanders did in fact tell her a woman can’t win, and on the debate stage, she took on the issue of whether a woman can win head-on. Warren told the crowd that the male candidates on the stage collectively lost 10 races while she and Sen. Amy Klobuchar were “the only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in.”

She also argued that female candidates have outperformed men, noting that female candidates and voters were pivotal in taking back the House and flipping statehouses during the last midterms.

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Warren pivoted to an implicit contrast with Sanders on electability, arguing that “the real danger” for Democrats “is picking a candidate who can't pull our party together.”

Sanders firmly denied Warren's accusation and said it was “incomprehensible” to believe he would suggest a woman couldn't become the president. 

The Democratic Party’s leading presidential candidates also sparred over Iraq, war and foreign policy Tuesday night in the final debate showdown before primary voting begins.

Credit: AP
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, speaks to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., left, as former Vice President Joe Biden listens Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)