Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) attributed her absence from Tuesday night’s debate stage to the “DNC and biased corporate media,” a theme which emerged after CNN demonstratively elevated Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at the expense of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), whose presidential aspirations were largely quashed by the same players in 2016.
“Unfortunately, the candidate who is best positioned to defeat Donald Trump will not even be on the #DemDebate stage tonight — thanks to the DNC and biased corporate media,” Gabbard wrote ahead of Tuesday’s debate, which featured only six white candidates from a field that once prided itself on diversity:
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) January 15, 2020
While the Democrat candidates excluded from the debate — including Andrew Yang (D) and Gabbard — have consistently cried foul on the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) rules and methods, Tuesday’s debate drew a wave of criticisms and complaints from Sanders supporters and surrogates, who say the moderators and network favored Warren in an obvious way. Critics say it became most apparent after CNN’s Abby Phillip asked Sanders if he ever told Warren that a woman could not win the presidential election. While he denied it, Phillips failed to cross-examine Warren, posing the allegation against Sanders as fact.
“Warren, what did you think when Sanders said a woman couldn’t win the election?” she asked.
Warren did not dispute the framing of the question.
“I disagreed. Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie,” she said.
Sanders’ campaign co-chair Nina Turner also pointed to a number of examples of CNN framing questions in ways that constantly put Sanders — not Warren — on defense.
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) January 15, 2020
“The framing of the question was definitely one-sided,” Turner told Breitbart News in the Spin Room.
“It shouldn’t have been framed that way. The question should have been asked, ‘Senator, did you say this,’ and let him answer. And then you say the same thing to Senator Warren, ‘He said he didn’t say it. Did he say it?’” she continued.
“But instead, they framed it as if it was absolute. And that’s wrong,” she added.
Gabbard came to Sanders’ defense on Monday following the initial reports of the alleged remarks, noting that she met with the socialist senator ahead of announcing her White House bid and stating that he showed her “the greatest respect and encouragement, just as he always has”:
I also met with @BernieSanders before announcing my candidacy. We had a nice one-on-one conversation and I informed him that I would be running for President. In that meeting, he showed me the greatest respect and encouragement, just as he always has.
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) January 14, 2020