Meghan McCain: 'Don't underestimate' Bernie Sanders

“The View” co-host Meghan McCain warned viewers on Tuesday not to underestimate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Trump team pounces on Biden gaffes The Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election Warren urges investment in child care workers amid pandemic 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 ClintonBlumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections Hillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column Hillary Clinton touts student suspended over crowded hallway photo: 'John Lewis would be proud' 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 TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally 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 HarrisBiden campaign says no VP pick yet after bike trail quip Hillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column Biden edges closer to VP pick: Here's who's up and who's down MORE (Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandExpanding our health force can save lives and create jobs simultaneously Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic MORE (N.Y.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden campaign says no VP pick yet after bike trail quip Biden edges closer to VP pick: Here's who's up and who's down Democratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports 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 BidenBiden says Trump executive order is 'a reckless war on Social Security' Trump got into testy exchange with top GOP donor Adelson: report Blumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections 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.