Asked about his recent comment praising Fidel Castro's literacy program from the early 1960s, Bernie Sanders insisted that he has always "opposed authoritarianism all over the world."
He then turned to Michael Bloomberg, who had moments earlier said he could work with the Chinese government because its leader is responsive to its "politburo."
"I was really amazed at what Mayor Bloomberg said a moment ago. He said that the Chinese government is responsive to the politburo, but who the hell is the politburo responsive to? Who elects the politburo? You have a real dictatorship there," Sanders said.
Turning back to Cuba, Sanders said "of course" it was a dictatorship but argued that he hadn't gone any farther in praising it than former President Barack Obama did during his efforts to open up relations with the country during his second term.
"What Barack Obama said was they made great progress on education and health care," Sanders said. "That was Barack Obama."
As Biden tried to step in to dispute Obama's intentions, Sanders argued that the entire debate was missing out on the harsh reality of the US's own role in global discord.
"Occasionally, it might be a good idea to be honest about American foreign policy, and that includes the fact that America has overthrown governments all over the world — in Chile, in Guatemala, in Iran, and when dictatorships, whether it is the Chinese or the Cubans, do something good, you acknowledge that, but you don't have to trade love letters with them," Sanders said.
In a recent CNN town hall, Bernie Sanders responded to Cuba criticism: