Ex-Obama official on Sanders-Warren feud: 'I don't think it played out well for either of them'

A former senior adviser in the Obama administration weighed in on Thursday on the ongoing feud between Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocratic senators ask Pompeo to provide coronavirus aid to Palestinian territories Seth Meyers returning to late-night TV with 'hybrid episodes' Biden tops Trump by 9 points in Fox News poll MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersTop Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden Poll: Biden leads Sanders by 22 points GE employees urge company to use laid-off workers to make ventilators MORE (I-Vt.), saying their war of words is not doing either of them any favors.

“None of us were in that room — I’m not going to attempt to guess and say who is right and who is wrong. I don’t think that’s fair,” Stephen Cobb, who also served as a Virginia deputy attorney general, told Hill.TV. His comments came in response to the dust-up over a private meeting in 2018 between the two progressive firebrands.  

“I don’t think it played out well for either of them,” he added.

The former Obama adviser argued that if the feud helped anyone in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary debate it was rival former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCuomo grilled by brother about running for president: 'No. no' Top Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden spar over coronavirus response MORE. Cobb argued that the Biden was able to come out of the debate looking like the “statesman” of the group.

“If you are arguably the front-runner or a front-runner and you go into a debate where everyone is taking potshots at each other and you can kind of rise above the fray, you get to come out the winner,” he said.

Tensions between Warren and Sanders culminated during Tuesday night’s debate in Iowa.

Leading up to the debate, a report accused Sanders of sending volunteers out to “trash” her campaign by casting her as a candidate of the elite, a claim Sanders has denied.

CNN also reported that Sanders had told Warren in the private 2018 meeting that he didn’t believe a woman could win the presidency. Warren confirmed the report, while Sanders emphatically denied ever having made such a claim. The pair doubled down on their stances in the debate when asked directly about the report.

Warren confronted Sanders on the issue following the debate and accused him of calling her a “liar on national TV.” Sanders replied,  saying, “Let’s not do it right now" before adding, "If you want to have that discussion, we'll have that discussion."  

As both sides dig in, a number of progressive groups have signed a three-part unity pledge vowing to keep their fight focused on the “corporate wing” of the Democratic Party and ensure that a candidate representative of their values wins the nomination.

—Tess Bonn