Bernie Sanders Says Biden's Record Means He Cannot Defeat Trump: 'You Think That's Gonna Play Well in Michigan or Wisconsin?'

Senator Bernie Sanders took aim at the voting record of his biggest rival in the Democratic Party's 2020 race, Joe Biden, and doubted the former vice president's ability to inspire the level of voter enthusiasm required to defeat President Donald Trump at the next election.

"Joe and I are friends and I truly like Joe. But what is imperative is that we defeat Trump, the most dangerous president in modern history," Sanders, an independent from Vermont, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday night.

"And that means you're going to have to have a huge voter turnout. You're going to have to get working people excited, you're going to have to get young people excited."

Cooper asked Sanders what specifically was wrong with Biden's record as a Democratic senator for Delaware and then in the White House during the Obama administration.

The democratic socialist replied that Biden had "voted and helped lead the effort for the war in Iraq, the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in the modern history of this country."

Sanders also cited Biden voting for "the disastrous trade agreements like NAFTA and permanent normal trade relations with China, which cost us millions of jobs."

"You think that's gonna play well in Michigan or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania?" Sanders told Cooper, referring to some of the "Rust Belt" states that Trump flipped from the Democrats back in 2016.

"Joe Biden has been on the floor of the Senate talking about the need to cut social security or Medicare or Medicaid. Joe Biden pushed a bankruptcy bill which has caused enormous financial problems for working families.

"So, if we're going to beat Trump, we need turnout. And to get turnout you need energy and excitement. And I just don't think that that kind of record is going to bring forth the energy that we need to defeat Trump."

The Biden campaign has been contacted for comment by email.

According to the RealClearPolitics average, Biden is polling at 29.3 percent in the Democratic race, putting him in first place. Second is Sanders on 19.9 percent, followed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on 14.4 percent.

Sanders has turned up the heat on Biden ahead of the opening 2020 primary in Iowa. Biden would not respond directly to previous criticism by Sanders about his vote in favor of the Iraq War.

"I don't respond to Bernie's ridiculous comments," Biden told reporters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Saturday. "You're not going to get me in a fight with Bernie. Bernie's got enough baggage."

Sanders had told The Washington Post in an interview that Biden's record is "so weak" and that "it's just a lot of baggage that Joe takes into a campaign, which isn't going to create energy and excitement."

Joe Biden Bernie Sanders 2020 Democratic primaries
Democratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders participate of the sixth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by PBS NewsHour & Politico at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California on December 19, 2019. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images