PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — With hugs and handshakes, Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Tuesday and emphatically told his supporters their “political revolution” must now turn to electing his Democratic former rival.
Sanders bestowed his long-awaited support before a boisterous New Hampshire crowd, declaring he wanted to make it “as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton.” He congratulated her for securing enough delegates to win the Democratic nomination and vowed to do everything he could to help her defeat Republican candidate Donald Trump.
“This campaign is not really about Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, or any other candidate who sought the presidency. This campaign is about the needs of the American people and addressing the very serious crises that we face,” Sanders said.
He added: “And there is no doubt in my mind that, as we head into November, Hillary Clinton is far and away the best candidate to do that.”
As Sanders delivered the endorsement just two weeks shy of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Clinton offered a huge smile, embracing him as they raised their arms in unity. The former secretary of state said the final four months of the campaign would be “much more enjoyable” working alongside Sanders and echoed her campaign slogan, “We are stronger together.”
During much of her remarks, Clinton embraced many of Sanders’ causes, vowing to oppose trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, fight to raise the federal minimum wage — adopting Sanders’ tone, she called it a “starvation wage” — and overhaul the campaign finance system.
“These aren’t just my fights. These are Bernie’s fights. These are America’s fights,” Clinton said.
Sanders has vowed to continue on until the convention and even though he endorsed Clinton he is still an active candidate, his campaign said after the joint appearance. Spokesman Michael Briggs said Sanders still supports holding a roll call vote at the convention to determine the nomination.
Democrats have coalesced around Clinton’s candidacy since she defeated Sanders in primaries last month in California and five other states, helped along by endorsements from President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and others. In a high-profile rally last month, Clinton was embraced by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a liberal stalwart popular with Sanders’ followers.
Sanders has spent the past month seeking to influence the party’s platform for the Philadelphia convention and promote electoral reforms including allowing independents to participate in future primaries. He called the platform “the most progressive” in history and hailed steps to create a $15 an hour minimum wage, prevent Wall Street malfeasance and address climate change.
The event at a Portsmouth high school sought to project Democratic unity before Republicans formally nominate Trump next week in Cleveland but some Sanders’ supporters in the crowd did not appear to be ready to move on.