Sanders gets testy when asked about exiting primary
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday did not commit to conceding the primary even if it became clear he would not be the nominee, a move that traces back to 2016 when the senator was facing down then-Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
In an afternoon interview, MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt asked Sanders if he would leave the race before the national convention. His response? "I intend to be the Democratic nominee."
After a back-and-forth — "Are you asking that of every candidate?" — and further pressing, Sanders said he was proud of his grassroots campaigns, particularly in the key states of New Hampshire and Iowa, and his million volunteers. The Vermont senator is polling just behind front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden, with 19 percent of the expected vote as of June 23.
"Our goal right now is to win it. And by the way, as you you may know, poll after poll shows what against Trump? Shows me beating Trump by 8, 9 or 10 points. We’re going to beat Trump, we’re going to win the Democratic nomination."
In 2016, Sanders was criticized for not leaving the race earlier than his July exit and charged with hurting Clinton’s campaign against Trump. He countered on Wednesday, saying some people believed if the system wasn’t "rigged against me, I would have won the nomination and defeated Donald Trump."
The 2020 race is kicking into high gear this week with the first Democratic primary debates. Sanders is scheduled to hit the stage on Thursday night, when he’ll go head-to-head with candidates including Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
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