Meghan McCain: 'Don't underestimate' Bernie Sanders

“The View” co-host Meghan McCain warned viewers on Tuesday not to underestimate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Iowa Democrats brace for caucus turnout surge MORE (I-Vt.) during the 2020 presidential race, calling him a “truly formidable" candidate. 

“The thing I will say about him is don’t underestimate him,” McCain said on the talk show shortly Sanders announced his White House bid.

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McCain pointed to Sanders’s early success during his 2016 presidential run before ultimately losing the Democratic nomination to former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Iowa Democrats brace for caucus turnout surge MORE.

She also noted that the Democratic National Committee last year voted to limit the power of superdelegates in picking presidential nominees. The move was viewed by Sanders supporters as a victory because they maintained that without superdelegates, he would have been the party standard-bearer.

“He’s still the original — with all socialist disciples coming up after him,” McCain said of Sanders. “I think he’s a truly formidable candidate, I wouldn’t underestimate him.”

“He’s the most popular politician in the country right now,” McCain added.

The Vermont senator, 77, announced on Tuesday that he was entering the crowded Democratic field against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE, whom Sanders described as "an embarrassment to our country."

"I think he is a pathological liar," he said in an interview on Vermont Public Radio. "I also think he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, somebody who is gaining cheap political points by trying to pick on minorities, often undocumented immigrants."

Sanders is competing against several of his Senate colleagues, including Democratic Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers MORE (Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGOP faces new challenge in 2020 abortion fight 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights MORE (N.Y.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers MORE (Mass.).

Early polls show Sanders near the top of potential Democratic contenders in early primary states.

A Des Moines Register–CNN–MediaCom poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers conducted in December showed Sanders in second place, after former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Democrats sense new momentum in Trump tax return fight Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie becomes first African to deliver Yale graduation speech MORE, who has not yet announced whether he will run in 2020.

Feb. 19 straw poll by the liberal blog Daily Kos showed Sanders in first place, far ahead of Harris, Warren, Biden and others.