A leaked script that is allegedly from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders‘ campaign instructed volunteers to criticize fellow candidate Elizabeth Warren. According to CBS News 2020 campaign reported Cara Korte via Twitter, the Vermont Sen. said that he did not approve the volunteer talking points taking aim at Warren.
The clarification comes after NBC News reported that Warren expressed her disappointment after hearing of the Sanders campaign’s purported strategy.
“I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me,” she told NBC News, noting that she and Sanders have known each other for a long time.
The script reportedly said Warren was a candidate for “elites” that would bring nothing new to the Democratic Party. The memo also claimed that the Massachusetts Senator’s base consists of “highly educated, more affluent people” who would vote in the 2020 election regardless, noting that Sanders would draw new voters.
According to BuzzFeed News political reporter Ruby Cramer — via Twitter — Sanders brushed off reports of his campaign’s attacks on Warren.
“Elizabeth,” he reportedly began before laughing.
“I gotta tell you, I think this is a little bit of a media blow up. The kind of wants conflict. Elizabeth Warren is a very good friend of mine.”
Sanders noted he and Warren’s relationship before he was pressed on the memo attacking Warren’s campaign.
“We have hundreds of employees Elizabeth Warren has hundreds of employees. And people sometimes say things that they shouldn’t. You have heard me give many speeches. Have I ever said one word about Elizabeth Warren?”
Warren hits back: “I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me. Bernie knows me and has known me for a long time…I hope bernie reconsiders and turns his campaign in a different direction.” Also notes the “factionalism” caused by 2016 https://t.co/ER0Vm6sgJS pic.twitter.com/N8prZdeZk9
— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) January 12, 2020
The spat comes as Sanders continues to surge in the polls as Warren and Pete Buttigieg appear to be losing support. The rise appears to have been noticed by Donald Trump’s campaign, which appears to be shifting its focus to the 78-year-old politician. Rep. Ro Khanna of California claims that the president understands Sanders’ appeal to working-class voters and does not underestimate the danger he could present to his presidency in the 2020 election.
The shift in focus is notable given that Trump has focused most of his campaign’s attacks on current Democratic primary frontrunner Joe Biden, who has remained in the lead for the duration of the race.
Sanders has also been shifting his strategy and going on the offensive against Biden. In particular, Sanders criticized the former Vice President for his support of the Iraq War and blasted him for supporting the NAFTA trade agreement, as well as his previous support for cutting Social Security and Medicare.