GOP leader: Biden will be the 'Jeb Bush of this cycle'

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRepublicans spend more than million at Trump properties The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes MORE on Thursday panned Joe BidenJoe BidenJames Carville: Biden represents 'stability' not 'generational change' Trump's misspelling of Biden's name trends on Twitter Trump says 'I have confidence' after past North Korea missile tests MORE's prospects in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, calling the former vice president the “Jeb Bush of this cycle.”

“I think Biden, no disrespect, is the Jeb Bush of this cycle,” the California Republican said at an Axios event. “I think he could have run at a different time and he would have been the nominee. I think he has too much to apologize for.”

McCarthy argued that Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJames Carville: Biden represents 'stability' not 'generational change' Ocasio-Cortez, progressives trash 'antisemitic' Politico illustration of Bernie Sanders 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding MORE (I-Vt.), who has trailed Biden in recent national polls, “has a much better chance” of winning the Democratic nomination. He noted that candidates need an energized base to sustain and fund their campaigns, saying Sanders “has a bigger base for a longer duration of the time."

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Bush, the former governor of Florida, entered the 2016 Republican presidential primary as a heavy favorite, given his high name recognition as the brother and son of two former presidents as well as his breadth of experience serving as the governor of a swing state.

But then-candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE repeatedly mocked him as “low energy” and the former governor's big-dollar campaign failed to break through the large GOP field. Bush dropped out of the race in February 2016 after a poor showing in the South Carolina primary.

Asked on Thursday about the presidential bid of his home-state senator, Democrat Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSan Francisco police chief apologizes for raid on journalist's home Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk MORE, McCarthy said he hoped that the first-term California senator would “accomplish something” and gain more experience in Congress before running for president.