Sen. Bernie Sanders insists that he’s “always believed” a woman can be elected president — but added that gender could be a “negative” for female candidates.
Speaking at a candidate forum in New Hampshire before the two go head-to-head in the state’s Democratic primary election on Feb. 11, Sanders was asked whether he made the comment.
“It is hard for me to imagine why anybody in the year 2020 could not believe that a woman can become president of the United States. If you check my record, I’ve been saying that for 30 years,” Sanders said, noting that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote over President Trump in 2016 by more than 3 million votes.
“Of course, I always believed and believe today that a woman can be elected president of the United States,” he added. “And trust me, if I’m not the nominee and a woman is, I will do everything I can to make sure that she’s elected.”
But asked if gender was an obstacle for female politicians, he said “the answer is yes.”
“But I think everybody has their own sets of problems. I’m 78 years of age. That’s a problem,” Sanders said. “So we have to argue ‘please look at the totality of who I am.’ “
“If you’re looking at [Mayor Pete] Buttigieg, he’s a young guy. People will say he’s well too young to be president. Look at this one she’s a woman. So everybody brings some negatives — if you like,” he continued.
“I would just hope very much that the American people look at the totality of a candidate, not at their gender, not at their sexuality, not at their age. But at everything,” Sanders said.
He and Warren exchanged remarks over what was said in their 2018 conversation at last Tuesday night’s Democratic debate in Des Moines, Iowa.
Sanders had been asked point-blank whether he made the comment to Warren during the debate.
“As a matter of fact, I didn’t say that,” he said.
Afterwards, Warren pulled back her hand when Sanders went to shake it.
“I think you called me a liar on national TV,” she told Sanders, according to a CNN recording of the exchange.
By the weekend, Warren was trying to downplay any conflict between the two progressive leaders.
During a a stop in Des Moines on Saturday, she said: “Bernie and I have been friends a long time. We fight for the same issues.”
“That’s all I want to say about that topic because what I truly believe is we’re going to have to pull together,” she continued.
Sanders, campaigning in New Hampshire on Saturday, didn’t address the quarrel with Warren, but told a woman’s group that “we’re all in this together.”
With Post wires
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