Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders argue about health care and the Affordable Care Act during the Democratic debate co-hosted by Politico and PBS Newshour in Los Angeles, California, on Thursday, December 19.
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders argue about health care and the Affordable Care Act during the Democratic debate co-hosted by Politico and PBS Newshour in Los Angeles, California, on Thursday, December 19.
PHOTO: Maddie McGarvey for CNN
(CNN) —  

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders are sparring through food metaphors on the campaign trail as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates inch closer to their first caucus showdown in Iowa.

Biden, asked about Sanders’ claim that President Donald Trump “will eat (Biden’s) lunch,” had a quick response: “Tell him come and I’ll give him some dessert at the White House.”

Biden’s latest quip comes in response to what the Vermont senator told the Los Angeles Times editorial board in an interview last week when Sanders was asked if he is too far left to unite moderates in a general election. Sanders talked about why he can unify the electorate and then, unprompted, pivoted to Biden and why his “same old, same old type of campaign” will not work.

“If you are, if you’re a Donald Trump and you got Biden having voted for the war in Iraq, Biden having voted for these terrible, in my view, trade agreements, Biden having voted for the bankruptcy bill. Trump will eat his lunch,” Sanders said.

This is not the first time the two Democratic hopefuls have clashed. During the December debate in Los Angeles, Biden and Sanders disagreed loudly over a familiar battle: who has the most effective healthcare plan, leading to a comical moment when Sanders waved his hand to interject Biden’s pitch. “Put your hand down for a second, Bernie, OK?” Biden said. “Just waving to you, Joe!” Sanders responded.

Biden has frequently checked Sanders on the campaign trail – in one instance, saying that the senator is honest about the fact that his “Medicare for All” plan will raise taxes – but he recently told CNN that Sanders might have staying power, as opposed to someone like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, because Sanders is “authentic.” Biden added that whether or not that will help Sanders win the nomination is “a different question.”

Since Sanders has entered the 2020 race, the senator has called Biden a “friend,” but has consistently gone after Biden’s record.

Sanders argued he is the better candidate when asked at a recent campaign event in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, about how he will defeat Trump. He tacitly referred to Biden and what appeared to be others by saying: “You know who they are.”