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

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySaagar Enjeti expresses concern over MSNBC hosting debate after Weinstein scandal Former Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Saagar Enjeti blasts alleged Epstein cover-up by media MORE on Thursday panned Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 SandersFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 HarrisFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Gabbard, Buttigieg battle over use of military in Mexico Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE, McCarthy said he hoped that the first-term California senator would “accomplish something” and gain more experience in Congress before running for president.