Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders don’t shake hands after debate

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders don't shake hands after debate

Shortly after sparring in Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential-primary debate, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders did not shake hands.

The snub happened in the wake of several days of news coverage of Mr. Sanders‘ supposedly having told Ms. Warren a woman couldn’t win the presidency. The reported exchange came up in the debate, and Mr. Sanders denied it.

What was said between the two left-wing candidates after the debate was not discernible on the clips being shown on social media and CNN.

But the body language was obviously frosty.

Mr. Sanders reached to shake hands as the six candidates milled about on the debate stage, but Ms. Warren pulled hers back and starts talking sharply to Mr. Sanders.

Mr. Sanders responds with several finger gestures back and forth and then turns his back and walks away.

Tom Steyer, who was standing next to the two senators for the latter part of the conversation, said he “really wasn’t listening” to whatever Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren were talking about.

“I was just going up to say ‘good night, Sen. Sanders‘ and I felt like ‘OK, there’s something going on here. Good night, I’m out of here,’” he said on CNN. “They were talking about getting together or something — I really didn’t listen.”

He and the CNN panelists laughed awkwardly as Mr. Steyer deflected their requests to repeat the substance of the Warren-Sanders conversation, which he said he didn’t grasp but knew something was amiss.

“You could see it’s an awkward moment. And that’s what I could see. My goal was simply to say good night to two people who I respect,” he said. “The last thing I wanted to do was get in between the two of them and try and listen in. That was not my goal and I didn’t do it.”

Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Mr. Sanders, refused to weigh in on the post-debate exchange — even after a reporter played the clip for him.

He did say that Mr. Sanders maintains, as he said during the debate proper, that Ms. Warren’s recollection of their conversation is off.

• Seth McLaughlin contributed to this report.

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