Pence: Biden, 2020 Dems are 'advocating a socialist agenda'

Vice President Pence hammered former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Buttigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Ocasio-Cortez starts petition to repeal Hyde Amendment MORE and other leading 2020 Democratic presidential contenders as “advocating a socialist agenda.”

“I think the choice that we face in the country today is a choice between freedom and socialism, increasingly. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' MORE has been advocating an agenda that’s built on the principles of freedom in the marketplaces, lower taxes, less regulation, more access to energy, better, fair trade deals,” Pence told CNBC on Friday.

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“But increasingly, whether it be Joe Biden, whether it be Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Buttigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' The generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party MORE, whether it be Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJulián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' Julián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' O'Rourke unveils plan to support women, minority-owned businesses MORE and others in their party, they’re advocating a socialist agenda of more government, higher taxes and the same tired policies that created the malaise of the last administration where you saw less than 2 percent economic growth,” Pence said.

Biden, who entered the race for the Democratic nomination last week, is widely seen as a centrist in a field dominated by progressives.

Since launching his campaign, Biden has hammered Trump on the campaign trail, attacking the GOP’s 2017 tax cut plan, which he says mainly benefits the wealthy.

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill regarding Pence’s remarks.

The former vice president is seen by conservatives as one of the stronger threats to the president among the more than 20 Democratic contenders as he angles his appeal toward wooing working class voters in the Rust Belt who historically voted Democratic but supported Trump in 2016. 

Trump and other Republicans have sought to attack Democrats as "socialists," attacking proposals from the progressive wing such as "Medicare for All" and the Green New Deal. 

“I want you, everybody in this room and your friends and your neighbors, I want you to put socialism on trial. That’s what I’m asking you to do,” White House adviser Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE said in February. “I don’t want us to stand idly by. I don’t want to let this stuff fester, I want it challenged, I want it debated, I want it rebutted, and I want to convict socialism.”