When it comes to the Democratic presidential primary, Bernie Sanders isn’t exactly walking around with a protest signs that reads, “Hell no, I won’t go!” but he’s getting pretty close.
Three days after frontrunner after Hillary Clinton flatly told CNN that she would be her party’s standard-bearer and that there “is no way” she wouldn’t be, the independent Vermont Senator forcefully rebutted her claim.
“Well, I think she might want to talk to the people of Indiana, West Virginia and Oregon, who voted very strongly for me in the last three contests,” Sanders said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “People of Kentucky, who kind of split the delegates -- and I think we’re going to do very well in the nine remaining contests.”
“So I think Secretary Clinton is jumping the gun a little bit here,” he added.
Sanders said the country needs an election “which does not have two candidates who are really very, very strongly disliked,” an argument backed up by an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released early Sunday that confirmed presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and Clinton are both burdened with high unfavorable ratings.
Fifty-eight percent view Trump unfavorably, while 54 percent hold a negative opinion of Clinton.
“I don't want to see the American people voting for the lesser of two evils,” Sanders said.
That same survey showed that Clinton’s lead over Trump shrunk to just 3 points, 46 to 43 percent, within the poll’s margin of error. Last month the same poll found the former Secretary of State besting the real estate mogul 50 to 39 percent.
But Clinton isn’t backing down from the tough rhetoric she used late last week, saying she will listen to Sanders about unifying the fractious Democratic Party “when he’s ready to talk.”
“Well, certainly, we're going to talk with him when he's ready to talk, and listen to him. And we will take into account what he is asking for,” she said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I think that's part of the process.”
“Senator Sanders has every right to finish off his campaign however he chooses,” she added. “There will then be the obvious need for us to unify the party. I faced the same challenge in 2008. I will certainly do my part, reaching out to Senator Sanders, reaching out to his supporters. And I expect him to do his.”
Clinton, who is less than 100 delegates shy of clinching the nomination, also previewed themes for her expected fall match-up against Trump.
“My campaign is not going to let Donald Trump try to normalize himself,” she said." “I've said he was unqualified to be president. I believe that deeply.”
"I think in the course of this campaign, we are going to demonstrate he has no ideas,'' according to Clinton. "There's no evidence he has any ideas about making America great, as he advertises. He seems to be particularly focused on making himself appear great.''
Trump has repeatedly thumbed his nose at the time-honored tradition, say that he doesn’t believe voters have a right to see his returns and has insisted it’s “none of your business” when pressed on what tax rate he pays.
Trump shot back at comments Clinton made earlier during a telephone interview on Fox & Friends Sunday. “She’s ineffective. Bernie Sanders said she’s not qualified to be President and he meant it. … She suffers from bad judgment, Trump said.”
President Obama might have given Trump and Republicans a little ammunition to support Trump’s statement in an interview on Fox News Sunday that was taped earlier in the week. Obama said, "There's a carelessness in terms of managing emails that she has owned and she has recognized.”
If Trump can use Sanders’ quotes whose policies he rejects, he’ll certainly use Obama’s, even though he has nothing but disdain for the president. “Our country has never been so divided as it is right now. We have a president who’s a total divider. And Hillary is weak. She’s a weak person and … it will probably be 4 more years—and probably 4 more years even worse than what we’ve been going through,” Trump said.”