According to a scoop from NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Ali Vitali’s new book, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton accused her once-Democratic Party rival Bernie Sanders of being a sexist, who has routinely made demeaning comments about women, including those he has campaigned against.
The exclusive quote from Clinton came from Vitali’s new book, "Electable: Why America Hasn’t Put a Women In the White House … Yet," a political memoir about her time covering the female candidates of recent U.S. presidential elections.
Politico published an excerpt of the book on its website, which focused on the Democratic primary for the 2020 election, particularly Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s, D-Mass., campaign, and the debate night row she had with rival progressive candidate Sen. Bernie, I-Vt., over comments he allegedly made in 2018 that "a woman couldn’t win" the election.
As Vitali’s book recalled, during the now infamous 2020 Democratic primary debate night, moderator Abby Phillip of CNN addressed Senator Sanders, "CNN reported yesterday, and Senator Sanders, Senator Warren confirmed in a statement, that in 2018, you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election." She then asked, "Why did you say that?"
Vitali recounted Sanders’ quote, in which he claimed, "Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it. And 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 who knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman couldn’t be president of the United States."
The viral moment came at the end of the debate, where Warren, with a hot mic, confronted Bernie, saying, "I think you called me a liar on national TV." Bernie dismissed the charge, saying "Let’s not do this now," and stepped off the stage after an awkward moment.
According to Vitali, another famous female presidential candidate who was disgruntled at her 2016 loss commented on Sanders’ sexist attitude.
The journalist claimed in the excerpt that Hillary Clinton sounded off on the Vermont senator's sexism surrounding the incident. Vitali wrote, "Hillary Clinton was watching this debate moment, too. ‘I believed her, because I know Sanders, and I know the kind of things that he says about women and to women,’ she told me, her distaste for her 2016 opponent still palpable."
Vitali indicated that she got more comment from Clinton on Warren’s hot mic moment, writing, "I asked what she thought about the hot mic moment. ‘I wish she had done it on mic,’ Clinton said. ‘I wish that she had pushed back in front of everybody. I think it weakened her response that it was after the cameras were supposedly off and, you know, they were just standing there.’"
The former U.S. Secretary of State added her "regret" for Senator Warren in her not calling out Sanders sooner. "I think it’s important that you call it out when it happens, and that was my only regret for her."
"I wish she had just turned on him and said, ‘You know, it’s one thing to mislead people about your healthcare plan. It’s another thing to tell someone to her face that a conversation which you know happened didn’t happen.’ I mean, that would have been, I think, a really important moment for her," Clinton reportedly told the journalist.
Vitali concluded her details on the debate night squabble by characterizing Warren’s mistreatment this way: "It was 2016 redux. Back then, it was #NeverHillary or #NeverClinton, a hashtag that persisted throughout the primary, past the convention and into the general election. Now, it was #NeverWarren — the hashtag revived and revamped to fit another female candidate who dared challenge Bernie and the Bros."