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Biden calls Sanders ‘the president’ in Democratic debate mistake

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Former Vice President Joe Biden slipped up during the Democratic debate Thursday night, accidentally referring to his close rival for the presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders, as “the president.”

“If you notice, nobody’s yet said how much it’s going to cost the taxpayer. I hear this, large savings, the president thinks … my friend from Vermont thinks that the employer is going to give you back if you negotiate,” said Biden, in an attack on Sanders’ signature Medicare for All healthcare policies.

“In fact they will,” responded Sanders.

“For a socialist, you’ve got a lot more confidence in corporate America than I do,” Biden quipped, jabbing at Sanders’ Democratic socialist views.

Read more: 7 standout moments from the 3rd Democratic debate

Biden was attacking Sanders’ claim that if employers were not paying insurance costs as part of the compensation workers receive, they would hand the money to employees in a higher paycheck.

Biden has positioned himself as a centrist in the Democratic debate over healthcare, pledging to expand the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. The bill was a signature policy of the administration in which he served as vice president.

Read more: Here are the winners and losers of Thursday’s fiery Democratic presidential debate

Sanders has pledged a radical overhaul of the US healthcare system, saying he will expand the federal government’s Medicare program to all citizens.

Doing so, he says, will reign in the rising cost of healthcare for US citizens. Other candidates who back Sanders’ plan include Senator Elizabeth Warren.

On Thursday Biden focused his attacks on his rivals’ healthcare policies.

“How are we going to pay for it? I want to hear tonight how that’s happening,” he said, with critics claiming their plans would result in higher taxes to fund higher government spending.

Biden, Sanders and Warren were the three leading candidates to secure the Democratic nomination, according to polls taken ahead of Thursday’s primary debate.

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