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Kennedy: Tanden called Sanders everything but 'ignorant slut'

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) blasted President BidenJoe BidenIRS to roll out payments for ,000 child tax credit in July Capitol Police told not to use most aggressive tactics in riot response, report finds Biden to accompany first lady to appointment for 'common medical procedure' MORE's nominee to head his budget office over her past rhetoric against Republicans and progressives alike, including Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Why does Bernie Sanders want to quash Elon Musk's dreams? Congress can protect sacred Oak Flat in Arizona from mining project MORE (I-Vt.), using his trademark colorful language.

"I'm very disturbed about your personal comments about people," he said at a Senate Budget Committee confirmation hearing for Neera TandenNeera TandenFive ways an obscure Senate ruling could change Washington 2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet White House delays release of budget plan MORE, Biden's nominee to direct the White House Office of Management and Budget.

"I mean, you called Sen. Sanders everything but an ignorant slut."

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The remark was a reference to "Saturday Night Live" skits from the 1970s involving the "Weekend Update" anchors Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin.

Tanden, who faced significant criticism in two hearings over harsh comments she made on Twitter while heading the Center for American Progress think tank, interjected to Kennedy's remark.

"That is not true," she said, before reiterating that she regretted her past comments.

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Earlier in the hearing, Sanders himself called her previous comments "vicious."

Tanden, who had worked as an aide in Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhy does Bernie Sanders want to quash Elon Musk's dreams? Republican legislators target private sector election grants How Democrats can defy the odds in 2022 MORE's Senate office and vociferously backed her candidacy for president in 2016, deleted a slew of old tweets in recent months.

She had also compared Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz raises .3 million in first quarter of 2021 Boehner says he voted for Trump, didn't push back on election claims because he's retired Boehner: Trump's claims of stolen election a 'sad moment in American history' MORE (R-Texas) to a vampire and Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell seeks to end feud with Trump Senate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Colin Powell on Afghanistan: 'We've done all we can do' MORE (R-Ky.) to "Harry Potter" villain Voldemort.

Kennedy pressed her on whether she meant what she said at the time.

"I must have meant them, but I really regret them," Tanden said after repeatedly evading the question.

Tanden found support on the issue from some Democrats, who noted a double standard given the incendiary rhetoric that former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE repeatedly dished out on Twitter.

“We’ve endured four years of the ultimate mean tweets," said Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowFive things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand electric vehicle charging tax credit Bottom line MORE (D-Mich.).

"I know we were all thinking that, and certainly I don’t want to hold you to a higher standard, but we certainly want to turn the page on how we move forward together,” she added.

As the hearing came to a close, Kennedy issued a humorous point of clarification to Sanders.

"I want the record to reflect that I did not call Sen. Sanders an ignorant slut," he said.

"I don't know how I should take that, Sen. Kennedy," Sanders responded.