Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIn California race, social justice wing of Democrats finally comes of age Sanders to headline progressive 'People's Summit' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (I-Vt.) says he will be running to win in 2016 if he decides to challenge Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonClinton targets Trump in speech, urging supporters to 'resist, insist, persist, enlist' Clinton defends April Ryan, Rep. Maxine Waters in speech Lobbying world MORE in a Democratic primary.
"I am giving thought to running for president of the United States," Sanders said in a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington on Monday. "But don't tell my wife. ... If I run, I want to run to win and to run to win we need to have millions of people actively involved."
Sanders, who caucuses in with Democrats in the Senate, declined to say whether he would enter into the race if Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenGovernment Accountability Office will review Mar-a-Lago security procedures Dems debate working with GOP on consumer bureau revamp Overnight Finance: Trump stock slump | GOP looks to tax bill for lifeline | Trump repeals 'blacklisting rule' | Dem wants ethics probe into Treasury secretary MORE (D-Mass.) decided to run, too.
Warren has insisted she's not running for president, but progressive grassroots groups are trying to change her mind. Sanders called Warren "brilliant."
"I will not be a spoiler," Sanders said, reiterating previous comments that he's made about how he would not run as an independent but as a Democrat.
"If I run and if Secretary Clinton runs, what I would hope would happen is that we have a debate about how you rebuild the middle class," Sanders said. "I also understand political realities, and that is, when you take on the billionaire class, it ain't easy."
Clinton maintains a dominant lead in 2016 Democratic polling against Sanders, Warren and Vice President Biden. None of the prospective Democratic candidates have officially declared they are running.
Sanders criticized Wall Street extensively, saying it had become "an island unto itself, where its goal is to make as much money as it can."
"I don't want to be too dramatic here, but I happen to believe that the business model of Wall Street is fraud and deception," Sanders said.