During the seventh round of Democrat debates Tuesday, CNN moderator Abby Phillip asked a shameful question that accused Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., of saying a woman could not win the 2020 election.
Prior to the debate in Des Moines, Iowa, an anonymous source claimed Sanders told Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., that a woman can’t beat Donald Trump. According to CNN, four people confirmed Sanders’ statement to Warren, which was allegedly said at Warren’s Washington D.C. apartment in December 2018.
Sanders denied the comment to CNN and denied it again on the debate stage.
“Senator Sanders, I do want to be clear here, you’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?” Phillip asked.
“That is correct,” Sanders said.
Directly after denying the allegations, Phillip read a pre-scripted question that undercut Sanders’s innocence.
“Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?” Phillip asked.
The crowd laughed.
CNN: “Sen. Sanders, I do want to be clear here, you’re saying that you never told senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?"
SANDERS: "That is correct."
CNN: “Sen. Warren, what did you think when senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?" pic.twitter.com/BZ1NajmQE9
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 15, 2020
Warren did not correct the CNN moderator. Instead she took the question as an opportunity to give a feminist speech on why a woman can be president, as if that is a pressing national question in an age where women outnumber men in the workforce and all levels of college attainment.
Nonetheless, the pre-scripted question was completely unfair to Sanders. It presumed guilt, not innocence. It also is quite clearly a likely media-planted fake attack from the Warren camp to undercut Sanders leading into the Iowa caucuses.
It was somewhat funny to watch the tables turn on Sanders. CNN clearly wanted to paint a narrative and help boost Warren during this debate. They did exactly that by trying to highlight Sanders’ “toxic masculinity” comment. It was a change of pace to see Sanders be held to his own, radical standards.