16/12/2016 12:20 PM AEDT

Bernie Sanders Once Cried 'Socialist' At A Guy Now Hoping To Be Trump's Economic Policy Chief

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, opposed bailing out the big banks.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) once taunted Larry Kudlow, who is reportedly a leading candidate to head President-elect Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, that he sounded like a “socialist.”

Kudlow, then a CNBC host, was arguing that Congress should grant the Bush administration’s request for $700 billion in emergency loans to the major banks.

“I gotta believe that preventing a meltdown will help Main Street, will also help the taxpayers,” Kudlow said in the September 2008 exchange.

Sanders shot back sarcastically, “I am sure that after all of the ranting and raving you have done against government intervention and the virtues of the free market, I know without saying, that you are opposed to the bailout.”

“No, I’m in favor of the bill,” Kudlow responded.

“Oh, you’re in favor of it? You’ve become a socialist overnight, Larry,” Sanders quipped. “What happened?” 

“If I ask you that the government should intervene to do what every other industrialized country does and provide health care for all people, you’d say, ‘Oh no!’ And if I ask you to support government intervention so that we don’t have the highest rate of childhood poverty in the world, you’d say, ‘Oh no!’ But when Wall Street screws up because of their greed, you say, ‘Oh yes, it’s a great idea!’” Sanders said.

Kudlow insisted that occasionally government intervention is necessary to rescue the banking system and that taxpayers usually end up getting a return on the money they loan banks.

But Sanders, who was one of 25 senators to vote against the bailout bill, insisted it was not right to make “middle-class taxpayers” pay for the banks’ mistakes.

Kudlow has never been shy about his staunchly conservative economic views and clearly enjoys jousting with liberal guests on air, now as a senior contributor for CNBC. He was an early supporter of Trump’s candidacy, becoming an informal adviser to the campaign.

In October, however, Kudlow expressed frustration with Trump’s 2005 comments about unwanted groping, warning that he would abandon Trump if the Republican nominee “continues to drop in these rabbit holes.”