Sanders hits back at Biden's skepticism of progressive appeal

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' MORE (I-Vt.) is hitting back back at 2020 rival former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTop adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' 'Forever war' slogans short-circuit the scrutiny required of national security choices MORE's skepticism of the progressive appeal across the country.

Sanders tweeted Friday that a leftward agenda is what will energize voters against President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE in the upcoming presidential election. The Vermont senator, a democratic socialist, has consistently polled in second place behind the former vice president.

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"I’m proud to be working with @AOC [Ocasio-Cortez] and so many other Democrats to pass Medicare for All, debt-free college and a Green New Deal," Sanders tweeted. "This is the agenda America needs — and that will energize voters to defeat Donald Trump."

Biden expressed skepticism about the mainstream appeal of progressive figures and policies in a wide-ranging interview with CNN earlier Friday. 

"Look who won last time out," Biden, who describes himself as in the "center-left," told the network.

"In the general election fights, who won? Mainstream Democrats who were very progressive on social issues, and very strong on education, health care."

Biden also questioned how well figures like progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez blasts Electoral College as a 'scam' Trump slams Tlaib after press conference on Israel ban: I don't buy her tears Scaramucci calls on GOP to save country from Trump 'depredations' MORE (D-N.Y.) would do in a general election race. 

"I think Ocasio-Cortez is a brilliant, bright woman, but she won a primary," he said. 

Ocasio-Cortez has hit Biden for being too centrist for the Democratic Party, warning last month that he could depress voter turnout in the 2020 race.

"I think that he's not a pragmatic choice," Ocasio-Cortez said. "If you pick the perfect candidate like Joe Biden to win that guy in the diner, the cost will make you lose because you will depress turnout as well."

“And that’s exactly what happened to 2016. We picked the logically fitting candidate, but that candidate did not inspire the turnout that we needed," she said.