Sanders on his path to nomination “I'm not going to tell you that it's easy, but I think we do.”
April 24th, 2016
12:54 PM ET

Sanders on his path to nomination “I'm not going to tell you that it's easy, but I think we do.”

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), joined anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss vice president’s, Rosario Dawson 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; Brooke Lorenz- Brooke.Lorenz@turner.com

 

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

 

Sanders doesn't condemn Rosario Dawson's use of Monica Lewinsky attack

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Sanders on his path to nomination: [TAPPER] “Do you have a path to the nomination, though, sir?  In what states can you win so overwhelmingly that you can overtake her ultimately in the pledged delegate count?” [SANDERS]  “Well, I'm not going to tell you that it's easy, but I think we do. What polls seem to be showing is that many of the states yet to come, including California, our largest state, we have a real shot to win.  And I think, also, there are a lot of delegates out there who are looking at the general matchup, and what they're seeing in polls is that Bernie Sanders is running a lot stronger against Donald Trump than is Hillary Clinton, because we can appeal to a lot of independents and people, not just the Democrats. So, I think we do have a path to victory.  I think we have come a very, very long way in the last year, and we're going to fight for every last vote until the - California and the D.C. primary.”

 

Sanders on who should be the democratic nominee’s vice president: “…I think the American people want us to focus on the real issues impacting them, how their kids can afford to go to college, not worry at this point about who is going to be a vice presidential candidate….  I think that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, whoever became the candidates may be, need to start talking to the real issues facing the American people. And that is that we have a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality…..All of the candidates need to focus on those issues.  And vice presidential candidates need to do the same.  That's what I'm trying to do in this campaign.  That's why we have come from 3 percent in the polls to almost tying or in some cases being ahead of Secretary Clinton in national polls.”

 

Sanders on Rosario Dawson mentioning Monica Lewinsky:  [TAPPER] “Do you think it's appropriate for your surrogates to be talking about Monica Lewinsky on the campaign trail?” [SANDERS]  “We have many, many - Rosario is a great actress, and she's doing a great job for us.  And she's been a passionate fighter to see that we see the increase voter turnout, that we fight for racial, economic, environmental justice….. [TAPPER] “But, yes or no, should your surrogates be talking about Monica Lewinsky?” [SANDERS] “I have no idea in what context Rosario was talking about her. But I would hope that all of our people focus on the real issues facing working people and the massive level of income and wealth inequality that we have.” 

 

 

Sanders on his comments “poor people don’t vote”: One of the reasons I am running for president of the United States is to try to revitalize American democracy.  It is no secret that we have one of the lowest voting turnout rates of any major country on earth.  And it is also true, in the last general election we had in 2014, 63 percent of the American people didn't vote, and the numbers were worse for low-income people, and the numbers were worse for young people. So, what we have got to do, Jake, is to not only overturn this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, so that billionaires and super PACs are not able to buy elections.  We have got to involve people.  And it's not easy, because so many people have given up on the political process, including a whole lot of low-income people, where the voting rates are in fact quite low, young people, who are not voting in large numbers. Our job is to bring people into the political process, to create a government which represents all of us, and not just the 1 percent.  And if there's a thing that I'm trying to do in this campaign, that's precisely what I'm trying to do, to increase the number of lower-income people who are voting, working people who are voting, young people who are voting, revitalize American democracy. And when we do that, I think we begin to change the dynamic of government in America, where it's not just big money interests who make the decisions, but ordinary people. 

 

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

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

 

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST:  That's right, America.  Your veepstakes seem to have officially begun with a in "The New York Times" today claiming that Hillary Clinton has already compiled a list of 15 to 20 potential vice presidential picks.

 

On the list, according to "The New York Times," progressive leaders Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown.  Both senators from the swing commonwealth of Virginia, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, are reported options.  And other Democratic notables such as HUD Secretary Julian Castro, former Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, and Senators Amy Klobuchar, Bill Nelson and Cory Booker.

 

Clinton herself was mum when asked about this topic on the campaign trail yesterday.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

QUESTION:  Has your campaign started to consider who to pick for V.P.?

 

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I'm just working hard to win on Tuesday.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

TAPPER:  At the least, it seems to signal that Clinton is ready to move past the primaries, while her opponent, Bernie Sanders, insists that the fight is far from over.

 

And joining me now is Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, joining me from the great state of Rhode Island.

 

Senator, thanks so much for joining us.

 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Great to be with you, Jake.

 

TAPPER:  So, Senator, according to "The New York Times," Hillary Clinton has started compiling a list of 15 to 20 potential V.P. picks that she wants to start vetting in late spring.

 

Broadly, regardless of which of the two of you ultimately wins the Democratic nomination, should the other one be first on the V.P. list?

 

SANDERS:  Look, I'm focusing right now on dealing with why the middle class of this country continues to disappear, why we're the only country on Earth, Jake, that doesn't provide paid family and medical leave, why we don't guarantee health care to all of our people.

 

I was just in Baltimore yesterday.  The level of poverty is unbelievable.  We have to rebuild our inner cities.  I think the American people want us to focus on the real issues impacting them, how their kids can afford to go to college, not worry at this point about who is going to be a vice presidential candidate.

 

TAPPER:  Well, then broadly speaking on those issues, if you don't win the nomination, does Hillary Clinton need an outspoken progressive, someone like you or Elizabeth Warren, as her running mate to motivate your supporters and make sure that those issues you just talked about are on the forefront?

 

SANDERS:  Well, I think that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, whoever became the candidates may be, need to start talking to the real issues facing the American people.

 

And that is that we have a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality.  Jake, how often do we talk about on television that the 20 wealthiest people in this country now own more wealth than the bottom 150 million people, that, in fact, we are seeing public school systems, one end of this country, in serious, serious trouble, we are seeing kids graduating college deeply in debt?

 

All of the candidates need to focus on those issues.  And vice presidential candidates need to do the same.  That's what I'm trying to do in this campaign.  That's why we have come from 3 percent in the polls to almost tying or in some cases being ahead of Secretary Clinton in national polls.

 

TAPPER:  David Plouffe, Barack Obama's 2008 campaign manager, who, we should say, is now supporting Hillary Clinton, Plouffe had some strong words for you on Twitter.

 

He wrote - quote - "Sanders has run a stunningly strong campaign fueled by passionate supporters, but raising money stating that you have path to nomination is fraud" - unquote.

 

What's your response to Plouffe?

 

SANDERS:  Well, my response is that David Plouffe is working for Hillary Clinton.

 

The idea that we should not vigorously contest this election, when the largest state in the United States of America, California, has not yet voted, nine other states will not have voted after Tuesday, of course, we're going to give every - the people in every state in this country the right to determine who they want to see president of the United States, what kind of agenda they want.

 

Jake, you know, when we began this campaign, we were way, way behind.  And I think it is fair to say that we have the momentum, we have the energy, that we are bringing millions of people into the political process.

 

What is good for America, what is good for the Democratic Party is to see a whole lot of people debating the real issues impacting our country.  That's how you have a large voter turnout.  And when you have a large voter turnout, Democrats and progressives win, and Republicans will lose.

 

TAPPER:  Do you have a path to the nomination, though, sir?  In what states can you win so overwhelmingly that you can overtake her ultimately in the pledged delegate count?

 

SANDERS:  Well, I'm not going to tell you that it's easy, but I think we do.

 

What polls seem to be showing is that many of the states yet to come, including California, our largest state, we have a real shot to win.  And I think, also, there are a lot of delegates out there who are looking at the general matchup, and what they're seeing in polls is that Bernie Sanders is running a lot stronger against Donald Trump than is Hillary Clinton, because we can appeal to a lot of independents and people, not just the Democrats.

 

So, I think we do have a path to victory.  I think we have come a very, very long way in the last year, and we're going to fight for every last vote until the - California and the D.C. primary.

 

TAPPER:  Senator, President Obama told the BBC today that he does not think the military campaign against ISIS will be completed before he leaves office.  There are now around 5,000 U.S. troops fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

 

Is the U.S. at war in the Middle East again?  And does Congress need to pass a new authorization for use of military force, so that the next president, which could be you, has a clear authority to wage this war?

 

SANDERS:  Well, I would like to see an authorization.

 

The question obviously is, what is in that authorization?  And, Jake, I will oppose any authorization that gives us just a wide-open approach to getting involved into perpetual war in the Middle East.  I think the president has done a good job in trying to balance the need to destroy ISIS.

 

We have got to put together a coalition of the Muslim nations.  But I voted against the war in Iraq, one of the differences that I have with Secretary Clinton.  I will do everything that I can to make sure that our men and women in the military are not sucked into perpetual war there.

 

TAPPER:  You were asked this weekend about why Hillary Clinton beats you in states where income inequality is most stark.  And you responded that - quote - "Because poor people don't vote" - unquote.

 

It was, however, Hillary Clinton, not you, who carried Democratic voters with household incomes below $50,000 a year.  Clinton carried this group 55 percent to 44 percent across primaries where network exit polls had been conducted.

 

SANDERS:  Well, let me just say this.

 

One of the reasons I am running for president of the United States is to try to revitalize American democracy.  It is no secret that we have one of the lowest voting turnout rates of any major country on earth.  And it is also true, in the last general election we had in 2014, 63 percent of the American people didn't vote, and the numbers were worse for low-income people, and the numbers were worse for young people.

 

So, what we have got to do, Jake, is to not only overturn this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, so that billionaires and super PACs are not able to buy elections.  We have got to involve people.  And it's not easy, because so many people have given up on the political process, including a whole lot of low-income people, where the voting rates are in fact quite low, young people, who are not voting in large numbers.

 

Our job is to bring people into the political process, to create a government which represents all of us, and not just the 1 percent.  And if there's a thing that I'm trying to do in this campaign, that's precisely what I'm trying to do, to increase the number of lower-income people who are voting, working people who are voting, young people who are voting, revitalize American democracy.

 

And when we do that, I think we begin to change the dynamic of government in America, where it's not just big money interests who make the decisions, but ordinary people.

 

TAPPER:  Are you surprised that you consistently lose lower-income Americans to Hillary Clinton?

 

SANDERS:  Well, I am surprised at how well we have done in this campaign.

 

You know, Jake, if you and I were talking 11, 11-and-a-half months ago, you would not have believed that we would here where we are right now.  You would not believe that we have won 16 states at this point, and that we're running very close to Secretary Clinton in general election matchups, and, in fact, we're beating Trump by rather large numbers.

 

I'm very proud of the campaign that we have run and the kinds of support that we are getting.

 

TAPPER:  There is a lot of concern, as you know, about what kind of damage you or Hillary Clinton might be doing to one another.

 

One of your high-profile surrogates, actress Rosario Dawson, invoked Monica Lewinsky at one of your rallies.  Do you think it's appropriate for your surrogates to be talking about Monica Lewinsky on the campaign trail?

 

SANDERS:  We have many, many - Rosario is a great actress, and she's doing a great job for us.  And she's been a passionate fighter to see that we see the increase voter turnout, that we fight for racial, economic, environmental justice.

 

What our job right now is to contrast our views compared to Secretary Clinton.  That's what a campaign is about.  My own view is, we should break up the large financial institutions on Wall Street.  I'm opposed to fracking.

 

And, by the way, we just won a good victory in New York state the other day.  A major fracking program has been killed.  I think we have got to ask the wealthy and large corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes.  So, what I will be doing in this campaign is in an issue-oriented way, not by personal attacks...

 

TAPPER:  Right, but that's...

 

SANDERS:  ... but by contrasting our view to Secretary Clinton.

 

TAPPER:  But, yes or no, should your surrogates be talking about Monica Lewinsky?

 

SANDERS:  I have no idea in what context Rosario was talking about her.

 

But I would hope that all of our people focus on the real issues facing working people and the massive level of income and wealth inequality that we have.

 

And, by the way, it might be a good idea for all of us, including television networks, to start talking about the planetary crisis of climate change, because the scientists tell us, if we do not transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, energy efficiency and sustainable energy, we should worry about the planet that we're going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren.

 

TAPPER:  Thank you, Senator.  Good luck on Tuesday.

 

SANDERS:  Thank you, Jake.

 

###END INTERVIEW###


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