March 6th, 2016
12:04 PM ET

Sanders: “We are going to stay in this campaign to the convention in July”

SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Democratic presidential candidate, joined CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash, to discuss Trump, the 2016 presidential election and more.

 

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

 

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

 

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Zachary Lilly – Zachary.Lilly@turner.com; Brooke Lorenz- Brooke.Lorenz@turner.com


VIDEO: Sen. Bernie Sanders on State of the Union: Full Interview

CNN POLITICS STORY: Bernie Sanders says his policies aren't 'fantasy'

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Sanders on support in states with more racial diversity: “Well, for a start, Dana, what we are seeing in many cases is not just a racial divide, but a generational divide.  We are doing better and better with younger people, whether they're black, Latino or white.  Our numbers are getting better and better.  In general, our numbers are getting better.  Truth is, we have not done well in the Deep South. But I am - I am absolutely certain that our numbers will continue to get better.  And what we have done, based on yesterday, at this point, we have now won seven primaries and caucuses all across this country, all with double-digit victories.”

 

Sanders on Trump:   “We won with 67 percent of the vote in Kansas.  If the turnout is high in Maine today, I think we have a good chance of winning there as well.  So I think we're showing strength all across this country.  And as the blurb you just played showed, we are doing better against Trump than Hillary Clinton is.  I think there was a poll that came out today having us beat Trump in Michigan by 22 points.  So if Democrats want the strongest candidate to defeat Trump, I think you're looking at him.

 

Sanders on his path to victory: “We have made enormous progress over the last 10 months.  We have now 5 million individual contributions, campaign contributions.  We don't have a super PAC.  BernieSanders.com is doing fantastically well in raising money from ordinary Americans.  We are going to stay in this campaign to the convention in July.  Every state has the right to vote for the candidate of their choice…… BASH:  No, senator, but will you do that even if Secretary Clinton gets the number of delegates needed in the contests before the convention?  [SANDERS]  Dana, you are - you are speculating.  I don't think that's going to happen. I think that we have a lot of strength in very large states all across this country.  I think we're going to do very well in New York State.  I think we have a good chance of winning throughout the West Coast in California, state of Washington, Oregon. I think our message of a corrupt campaign finance system which has to be changed, a rigged economy where almost all new income and wealth is going to the top one percent, that is resonating all over this country.  So I don't want to speculate as to what happens tomorrow or three weeks from now.  We think we have momentum, and we think we're going to do just fine.”

 

 

Sanders responds to Clinton claiming he lacks a credible strategy: “I believe that the United States should join every other industrialized country on earth in guaranteeing health care to all people.  Is that fantasy?  If every - if Canada can do it, the U.K. can do it, France can do it - you know what?  I don't think it's fantasy to say that we can do it in the United States. Is it fantasy to say that our young people should be able to go to college regardless of their income as we establish free tuition at public colleges and universities?  Well, Germany has that. Scandinavia has that.  Countries all over the world have that.  Is it fantasy to say that we should end the obscene level of income and wealth inequality with the 20 wealthiest people in this country, now wealth from the bottom 50 percent? All of that may be fantasy to the ruling class and the big-money interests in this country.  I don't think that's fantasy to the working people in this country who are work longer hours for lower wages who are tired of establishment politics and establishment economics…”

 

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DANA BASH CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  Hillary Clinton's campaign says the math makes it nearly impossible for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination.  Even though two of three states voting yesterday said they want a Sanders revolution, Clinton won the most delegates of the night.

 

But Sanders says he won't be deterred, and he's already looking ahead to the general election matchup with Donald Trump.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT):  I just want to say this about electability.  For a start, polls go up and down, but almost all of the national polls and state polls that have put me up against Donald Trump has us winning, and winning big.

 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

BASH:  But, first, Bernie Sanders has to beat Hillary Clinton, who he will debate tonight right here on CNN.

 

And Senator Sanders is joining me now.

 

Senator, thank you so much.  Congratulations on your wins last night.

 

I want to ask, though, about...

 

SANDERS:  Thank you.

 

BASH:  You're welcome - about a pattern emerging, including last night.

 

You tend to win states that are mostly white, and Hillary Clinton wins in states with large minority populations.  What are you going to do in tonight's debate on CNN in Flint, Michigan, to change that dynamic?

 

SANDERS:  Well, for a start, Dana, what we are seeing in many cases is not just a racial divide, but a generational divide.

 

We are doing better and better with younger people, whether they're black, Latino or white.  Our numbers are getting better and better.  In general, our numbers are getting better.

 

Truth is, we have not done well in the Deep South.

 

But I am - I am absolutely certain that our numbers will continue to get better.  And what we have done, based on yesterday, at this point, we have now won seven primaries and caucuses all across this country, all with double-digit victories.

 

We won with 67 percent of the vote in Kansas.  If the turnout is high in Maine today, I think we have a good chance of winning there as well.  So I think we're showing strength all across this country.  And as the blurb you just played showed, we are doing better against Trump than Hillary Clinton is.  I think there was a poll that came out today having us beat Trump in Michigan by 22 points.  So if Democrats want the strongest candidate to defeat Trump, I think you're looking at him.

 

BASH:  Now, senator, you have promised to fight all the way to the convention in July.  Does that pledge hold even if Secretary Clinton reaches the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination before that?

 

SANDERS:  Dana, when I started this campaign, I was at three percent in the polls, three percent.  People considered us to be a fringe campaign.

 

We have made enormous progress over the last 10 months.  We have now 5 million individual contributions, campaign contributions.  We don't have a super PAC.  BernieSanders.com is doing fantastically well in raising money from ordinary Americans.  We are going to stay in this campaign to the convention in July.  Every state has the right to vote for the candidate of their choice.

 

BASH:  But senator -

 

SANDERS:  We believe we have a path - yes, go ahead.  I'm sorry.

 

BASH:  No, senator, but will you do that even if Secretary Clinton gets the number of delegates needed in the contests before the convention?

 

SANDERS:  Dana, you are - you are speculating.  I don't think that's going to happen.

 

I think that we have a lot of strength in very large states all across this country.  I think we're going to do very well in New York State.  I think we have a good chance of winning throughout the West Coast in California, state of Washington, Oregon.

 

I think our message of a corrupt campaign finance system which has to be changed, a rigged economy where almost all new income and wealth is going to the top one percent, that is resonating all over this country.  So I don't want to speculate as to what happens tomorrow or three weeks from now.  We think we have momentum, and we think we're going to do just fine.

 

BASH:  You just speculated that you're going to win those contests, but I’ll - I’ll let you go on that one.

 

You have talked about the enthusiasm behind your campaign.  And we certainly see it in your rallies.  But this year it is Republicans who are seeing record turnout.

 

On Super Tuesday, more than 2.5 million more votes were cast in Republican contests than the Democratic side.  So should Democrats be concerned about an enthusiasm gap heading into November?

 

SANDERS:  No, I don't think so.  I really don't think so.

 

I think just yesterday in Kansas, there was a record-breaking turnout.  I believe in Colorado on Tuesday, Super Tuesday, there was a record-breaking turnout.  Massachusetts, the turnout was very, very high.  In Iowa, the turnout was high.

 

I think one of the goals of our campaign is to revitalize American democracy, to make sure that working people and young people know that when they participate in the political process, they have real power that, in fact, we can take on and defeat the billionaire class.  So I don't agree with you.

 

I think within the Democratic primaries, not in every instance, but in many of the states, we are seeing our numbers higher than in 2008 when Barack Obama ran an unbelievable campaign, and his numbers were off the charts.  In some states, we're actually seeing higher turnouts than in 2008.

 

BASH:  Senator, I want to ask you about something that was in the news this week.  A former Hillary Clinton staffer who helped set up her private email server accepted immunity and will talk to federal investigators.

 

I know you've said that the American people are sick of hearing about Secretary Clinton's emails, but does this development concern you?

 

SANDERS:  Well, as I have said, Dana, we are going to focus on the issues facing the American middle class, and it would be a good idea every now if (ph) the media did that as well.

 

Middle class in this country is disappearing.  We have massive income and wealth inequality, got millions of people trying to make it on $12,000 a year, Social Security, we're trying to increase those benefits.  So my focus right now is on the issues that concern the young people who are paying outrageously high student debt, working people, senior citizens, veterans.  Those are the issues that I will focus on.

 

BASH:  Now, you talk about focusing on the middle class.  Certainly you're talking about it, Hillary Clinton is talking about it, but she also said something about your approach to that, that she doesn't think adds up this week.  Take a listen.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CLINTON:  Anyone running for president owes it to you to come up with real ideas, not an ideology, not an old set of talking points, but a credible strategy designed for the world we live in now.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

 

BASH:  She's basically saying you're living in fantasyland, senator.

 

SANDERS:  Yes, I guess.  I believe that the United States should join every other industrialized country on earth in guaranteeing health care to all people.  Is that fantasy?  If every - if Canada can do it, the U.K. can do it, France can do it - you know what?  I don't think it's fantasy to say that we can do it in the United States.

 

Is it fantasy to say that our young people should be able to go to college regardless of their income as we establish free tuition at public colleges and universities?  Well, Germany has that. Scandinavia has that.  Countries all over the world have that.  Is it fantasy to say that we should end the obscene level of income and wealth inequality with the 20 wealthiest people in this country, now (ph) (INAUDIBLE) more (ph) wealth from the bottom 50 percent?

 

All of that may be fantasy to the ruling class and the big-money interests in this country.  I don't think that's fantasy to the working people in this country who are work longer hours for lower wages who are tired of establishment politics and establishment economics.  Every proposal that we have brought forth we pay for.  We are going to save in terms of health care, middle-class families, thousands of dollars a year on their health care bills.

 

Yes, maybe the drug companies don't like it and the insurance companies don't like it.  I think the American people do like it.  I think we're going to change our trade policies.

 

Secretary Clinton has supported almost every one of these disastrous trade agreements.  NAFTA, PNTR with China which have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs.  Companies shut down, moved to China, I have opposed all of them.

 

BASH:  All right -

 

SANDERS:  This is not fantasy.  This is reality.  We've got to stand up for the middle class.

 

BASH:  Senator, I am sure all of those topics will be brought up tonight when you are going to face off with Hillary Clinton on the debate stage in Flint, Michigan, right here on CNN, and we look forward to that.

 

And thank you for joining me this morning.

 

SANDERS:  Thank you, Dana.

###END INTERVIEW###

 

 

 

Brooke Lorenz

Public Relations Coordinator | CNN | Washington, DC

Brooke.Lorenz@Turner.com| O: (202) 515-2918

 

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