Progressives appear to be concerned that a hot-mic spat between two 2020 Democratic presidential candidates could destroy both of them.
MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson mentioned the heated moment, caught just after Tuesday’s debate by CNN cameras, when Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders each accused the other of calling them “a liar.” (RELATED: ‘I Have To Fact Check You In Real Time’: Matt Gaetz Scolds MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson)
The conflict stems from a CNN report, which cited four unnamed sources alleging Sanders told Warren during a meeting that a woman could not be president. Sanders denies it ever happened. Warren issued a statement Monday standing behind the report and its claims. (RELATED: CNN Airs Audio Of Tense Exchange Between Elizabeth Warren And Bernie Sanders)
Sanders said in 1988 that a woman could become president.
Jackson followed the video by noting the concerns it raised — among progressives especially — who worried that two of the most progressive candidates were at war with each other rather than focusing their energy on defeating President Donald Trump.
“Set aside the awkward moment from Tom Steyer, it has people worried Sanders and Warren will destroy each other and pave the way for somebody more moderate like Joe Biden,” Jackson said, citing an article published Wednesday on NBC’s website.
‘It would be a disaster for anything to interfere with the greatest electoral opportunity for progressives in more than a generation,’ said David Segal, a longtime progressive activist and former state legislator who has worked with both Sanders’ and Warren’s teams on a variety of policy issues. ‘We cannot allow what was a nonaggression pact to transform into a suicide pact.’
Jackson then cut to a video from TBS late-night host Samantha Bee, who added, “That’s it? That’s what’s dominated our national discourse for 36 hours? Two great candidates who are a little sad and disappointed in each other over a misunderstanding. If we make enemies now, the fight won’t be whether a woman will ever be president it will be whether anyone else will ever be president again.”
CNN’s Abby Phillip addressed the issue during Tuesday’s debate, but received criticism for appearing to take Warren’s side when she asked a follow-up question to Sanders that implied he did what Warren is accusing him of.