Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) struggled to identify something he admired about 2020 rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) on Tuesday.
At the conclusion of their interview, CNN host Poppy Harlow said she wanted to end on a "positive note" and asked Sanders what he admired most about Warren.
"Well, Senator Warren is a friend of mine, and I admire the fact that we have worked together over the years on a number of issues," Sanders said.
"Anything specific?" Harlow asked.
"Well, look, we have worked together on a number of issues, and she is a very good senator," Sanders said, provoking a chuckle from Harlow.
Sanders and Warren will share the CNN debate stage next week in Detroit. Warren and Sanders have been jockeying for position behind frontrunner Joe Biden and are two of the staunchest liberals in the race. While they share some priorities like canceling student debt and instituting single-payer health care, Warren has called herself a "capitalist to my bones" while Sanders refers to himself as a democratic socialist.
Sanders had the left-wing lane to himself when he challenged Hillary Clinton in 2016, but he's seen many of his policies adopted by rivals in the 2020 race, most notably Medicare for All. After a rocky start, Warren has risen in the polls, particularly among self-described liberals, and has won over many former Sanders supporters.
Apart from Biden, Sanders has been reluctant to attack his main rivals for the nomination. He was similarly terse on Warren in a recent interview with NPR.
"Elizabeth is a longtime friend of mine, she is a very good senator," Sanders said. "Elizabeth's running her campaign. I'm running my campaign."