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CNN: Team Warren claims Sanders said a woman couldn't win against Trump; <span class=red>Progressive org: Both of you knock it off</span>

Man, when the gloves come off, they really come off. Bernie Sanders may have started jabbing earlier, as Allahpundit wrote, by suggesting sotto voce that Elizabeth Warren doesn’t bring any new voters to the Democratic ranks. Team Warren responded with a haymaker by painting Sanders as an unrecalcitrant sexist. Four sources, two of whom took part in the December 2018 meeting between the two progressive contenders, allege that Sanders told Warren that a woman couldn’t win an election in 2020:

The two agreed that if they ultimately faced each other as presidential candidates, they should remain civil and avoid attacking one another, so as not to hurt the progressive movement. They also discussed how to best take on President Donald Trump, and Warren laid out two main reasons she believed she would be a strong candidate: She could make a robust argument about the economy and earn broad support from female voters.

Sanders responded that he did not believe a woman could win.

The description of that meeting is based on the accounts of four people: two people Warren spoke with directly soon after the encounter, and two people familiar with the meeting.

That evening, Sanders expressed frustration at what he saw as a growing focus among Democrats on identity politics, according to one of the people familiar with the conversation. Warren told Sanders she disagreed with his assessment that a woman could not win, three of the four sources said.

Hoo boy. Readers with long memories might remember that Hillary Clinton and her supporters accused Sanders of being sexist too, even earlier in that primary process than we are now. Supposedly the basis for that was that Sanders shouted in a debate, perhaps before everyone realized that Sanders is always shouting. (There’s a reason why Larry David has a recurring SNL gig playing Sanders.) Even at that time, though, most people considered it a throat-clearing exercise for Clinton’s general-election strategy, which she deployed but which also failed to connect with voters.

If Sanders told Warren a woman couldn’t win, though, that’s a different kettle of fish. That sounds pretty chauvinistic, if not downright misogynistic. But did he really say that? Sanders hotly disputed the allegation, and referenced Clinton in his response:

“It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” Sanders said. “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”

It does seem like a strange claim to make in December 2018, at a time when #MeToo was ascending in public consciousness. It doesn’t help that Warren has made a habit of inventing sexism-victimization stories to advance her campaign narrative. This sounds a bit like that very impulse, especially with Warren’s decline in polling over the last three months. She needs to find a way to distinguish herself from Sanders, who’s benefited to some degree to her decline.

On the other hand, Sanders credited Warren’s initial rise in polling to ” a certain number of people who would like to see a woman elected,” in an interview with Chris Cuomo. Sanders went out of his way to praise Warren as a friend and a good campaigner, but he wasn’t doing much to hide his frustration with identity politics eclipsing policy and credibility: