Sen. Elizabeth Warren accused Sen. Bernie Sanders of calling her a “liar on national TV” in a heated exchange caught on camera after the debate ended, according to audio released by CNN on Wednesday.
Viewers of Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Iowa were left puzzled by the interaction between the two progressive candidates, shown without audio. Cameras captured Warren approaching Sanders but declining to shake his outstretched hand, which led to a brief, tense moment in which Sanders shook his head before walking away.
The audio was caught by CNN microphones:
‘I think you called me a liar on national TV.’
“I think you called me a liar on national TV,” Warren, a Massachusetts senator, is heard saying, while rejecting Sanders’ handshake.
“What?” Sanders says.
She repeats: “I think you called me a liar on national TV.”
“You know, let’s not do this right now. If you want to have that discussion, we’ll have that discussion.” Warren responds, “Anytime.”
“You called me a liar,” Sanders says, waving a finger at her. He then backs down: “You told me… all right, let’s not do it now.”
CNN said a spokesperson for Sanders’ campaign declined to comment on the audio, and a spokesperson for Warren’s campaign did not respond to request for comment.
During the debate, the presidential rivals seemed to play down growing tensions over a report that Sanders had told Warren during a private meeting between the two in 2018 that a woman couldn’t win the presidency.
Sanders, a senator from Vermont, denied he’d ever said it. “Does anyone in their right mind believe a woman can’t be elected president?” he asked.
Warren did not attack Sanders, but replied, “This question about whether or not a woman can be president needs to be addressed head-on.”