During an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) offered a one-word response to his former primary rival Hillary Clinton’s allegation that he contributed to her loss: “Wow.”
Host Chuck Todd noted that the former Democratic presidential nominee listed Sanders as among the factors she believes are responsible for her loss to President Donald Trump in her new memoir, titled, “What Happened.”
Todd played a clip from Clinton’s appearance this week on “The View,” during which she said:
I was arguing with my supporters at the Denver convention in 2008 about why they had to quit complaining that I didn't win and get out and support Barack Obama. And I didn't get that respect from him and his supporters.
Todd told Sanders, “She believes you didn't work hard enough to bring your supporters to the fold the way she did in '08, which is what she was pointing there.”
“And if anything, your supporters may have undermined her candidacy in the general election. Do you accept that criticism?” Todd asked.
“Wow,” Sanders replied.
Sanders then added that he doesn’t accept Clinton’s accusation, saying it isn’t “useful” to look backward as he focuses on his legislative priorities.
“But let me just say this,” Sanders continued. “I worked as hard as I could after endorsing Hillary Clinton. I went all over this country. And I would remind people, you know, people say, ‘Well, not everybody who voted for Bernie ended up voting for Hillary.’ No kidding. That's what happens in politics.”
He argued that some of Clinton’s primary supporters in 2008 went on to vote for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in that year’s general election.
“Most people, you know, are not rigidly Democrats or Republicans. They vote where they want. I worked as hard as I could to see that Hillary Clinton was — would be elected president.”
Later in the interview, when Todd pointed out that Sanders is “not technically” a member of the Democratic party, Sanders said that he plans to seek re-election as an independent.
“Well, I will do what I have done in the past,” he said of his political affiliation, adding that “the current model of the Democratic Party obviously is not working.”
“Republicans control the House, the Senate, they control the White House,” Sanders said. “They control two-thirds of the governors' offices throughout this country. In my view, Chuck, what we need to do is to reach out to independents. There are a heck of a lot more independents in this country than there are Republicans or Democrats. I am an independent. I've always been a Democrat. I have worked within the Democratic caucus in the House and the Senate for over 25 years. I'll continue to do that.”