CNN debate moderator Abby Phillip came under criticism for her questioning of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren about Warren’s allegation that Sanders privately told her a woman could not win in 2020.
“Sen. Sanders, CNN reported yesterday, and Sen. Warren confirmed in a statement, that in 2018 you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election. Why did you say that?” Phillip asked.
“Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it,” Sanders replied. “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 knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States. Go to YouTube today. There’s a video of me 30 years ago talking about how a woman could become president of the United States.”
“So Sen. Sanders, I do want to be clear here,” Phillip pressed, “you’re saying that you never told Sen. Warren that a woman could not win the election?”
“That is correct,” Sanders replied.
Phillip ignored Sanders’ denial:
Phillip then pivoted to Warren, ignoring Sanders’ denial.
“Sen. Warren, what did you think when Sen. Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?” Phillip asked.
“I disagreed. Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie. But, look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it's time for us to attack it head-on," Warren replied.
Phillip faces criticism:
“He says he didn’t say it. So you turn to Elizabeth Warren and say, 'Did he say it?' That’s the issue. I mean, it’s bizarre," questioned MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski. "What the heck happened there? Are they listening? Because you gotta listen when you do a debate and then take the question to the next candidate.”
“I’m obviously not a Bernie fan, but the way CNN handled the questions around his alleged ‘a women can’t win’ comment was completely outrageous and wrong, “wrote National Review editor Rich Lowry. “Bernie Sanders's most vociferous opponent in the Iowa debate was CNN.”