James Carville Hits Back at Bernie Sanders: 'I Am a Political Hack! At Least I'm Not a Communist'

Democratic strategist James Carville escalated his war of words with Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday by suggesting that the self-described democratic socialist is really a communist.

During an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday, Sanders called Carville a "political hack" after the strategist criticized his 2020 campaign days earlier. Carville, a longtime associate of the Clintons, embraced the label while taking a swipe at Sanders the next day.

In response, Carville reportedly told journalist Peter Hamby: "Last night on CNN, Bernie Sanders called me a political hack. That's exactly who the f*** I am! I am a political hack! I am not an ideologue. I am not a purist. He thinks it's a pejorative. I kinda like it! At least I'm not a communist."

Newsweek reached out to the Sanders campaign for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Sanders' remarks about Carville came days after the strategist suggested that allowing the progressive senator the Democratic nominee would be a "mistake. He also said Sanders was leading an "ideological cult" and spends too much time "screaming about the revolution."

Sanders dismissed the criticisms and claimed that Carville had used similar tactics against former President Barack Obama during the 2008 Clinton campaign.

"James, in all due respect, is a political hack who said very terrible things when he was working for Clinton against Barack Obama. I think he said some of the same things," Sanders said.

"We are taking on Trump, the Republican establishment, Carville and the Democratic establishment," he added. "But at the end of the day, the grassroots movement that we are putting together of young people, of working people, of people of color, want real change."

Sanders has repeatedly said that he is not a communist. Regardless, critics of the senator have frequently attempted to associate him with the political ideology, including President Donald Trump.

"I think he's a communist," said Trump during an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity in February. "I mean, you know, look, I think of communism when I think of Bernie."

Moderate Democrats have also recently criticized Sanders for being too far to the left. Concerns about electability in the general election against Trump are often raised, although polls show Sanders matching up well against the president in a hypothetical contest.

Sanders won the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday. The senator is currently leading the Democratic field in multiple national polls and most observers consider him to be in a strong position going into the Nevada caucuses on February 22.

James Carville
Democratic strategist James Carville speaking at Politicon in Los Angeles, California on October 21, 2018. Michael S. Schwartz/Getty