WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said Sunday he won’t endorse Hillary Clinton for president until they meet and he measures her commitment to battling Wall Street, wealth inequality and other priorities that powered his rogue presidential campaign.
“I look forward to sitting down with Secretary Clinton and see what kind of platform she is going to support and how aggressive she is going to be,” he said on CBS “Face the Nation.” ”Dependent on how Secretary Clinton comes down on many of these major issues will determine how closely we can work with her.”
Sanders’ remarks were the first indication that the two Democrats planned to “chat” Tuesday evening after votes in the District of Columbia, the final Democratic presidential primary.
Defeating presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump remains his first priority, Sanders said, leaving open the prospect of pursuing that goal at some point at Clinton’s side.
That seemed inevitable. Clinton last week claimed the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, secured President Barack Obama’s endorsement and took immediate aim at Trump. And Sanders was powering down his campaign, laying off half of his staff and meeting with Senate Democrats who said afterward the Vermont independent seemed under no illusions about the fact that his upstart campaign was near its end. On Sunday, he was to meet with supporters and senior advisers at his home in Burlington, Vt.
On Sunday, he made clear that his endorsement of Clinton was not to be taken for granted.
The campaign Sanders built is valuable to Clinton. Rooted in pricey notions of free college educations and health care for all, Sanders campaign attracted scores of younger and female voters. These voters earned Sanders 45 percent of the Democratic delegates to the party’s national convention. Across the Sunday talk shows, Sanders suggested he wants to ensure that Clinton’s support for those priorities is more than words spoken by her or printed on the party’s platform.
“Generally speaking, a platform is a piece of paper tucked away in some kind of drawer, but I do not want that to be the case nor do millions of people who voted for real change want that to be the case,” Sanders said on CBS. “That is exactly what Secretary Clinton and I will be talking about.”