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Warren, Sanders try to move past feud as early voters sound alarm

Published: Updated:

US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders attempted over the weekend to tamp down a weeklong disagreement over whether Sanders told Warren in a 2018 private meeting that a woman could not beat Republican President Donald Trump in 2020.

As the two senators and long-time allies campaigned in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire just two weeks before the first caucuses begin, both largely stuck to their liberal policy platforms and emphasized unity among Democrats hoping to take on Trump in the November election.

“Bernie and I have been friends a long time. We fight for the same issues,” Warren said at a house party in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, when quizzed by a supporter who said she believed Warren’s side of the story. “That’s all I want to say about that topic because what I truly believe is we’re going to have to pull together.”

Sanders pledged to come together with other Democrats to back their eventual nominee.

“No matter who wins this hotly contested primary, all of us will unite,” he said in Exeter, New Hampshire, on Saturday.

“The media has blown this thing up and I don’t want to get into it anymore, other than to say of course that I always believed and believe today that a woman can be elected president of the United States,” Sanders told New Hampshire Public Radio on Sunday. “And trust me, if I’m not the nominee and a woman is, I will do everything I can to make sure she is elected.”

The two senators have been at odds in recent days after Warren said Sanders told her during the meeting that a woman could not win the presidency in November 2020, which Sanders has denied.

The spat bubbled to the fore during last week’s presidential debate in Iowa, when a CNN microphone caught Warren telling Sanders he made her out to be a liar on national television.

The disintegration of the non-aggression pact between the two friends - and the resulting online backlash from supporters in both camps - caused hand-wringing among progressive groups, which urged backers of the two candidates to reserve their fire for centrist rivals.

Sanders is leading Warren in most national opinion polls but both trail behind former Vice President Joe Biden, a moderate.