Sanders: I would 'run to win' in 2016
© Getty Images

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersThe media couldn't be more blatant in distorting Trump's words on Charlottesville Road to renewable energy is filled with potholes of ‘magic thinking’ Bernie Sanders: Trump’s Charlottesville comments ‘embarrassing’ MORE (I-Vt.) says he will be running to win in 2016 if he decides to challenge Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonAssange meets U.S. congressman, vows to prove Russia did not leak him documents High-ranking FBI official leaves Russia probe OPINION | Steve Bannon is Trump's indispensable man — don't sacrifice him to the critics 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."

ADVERTISEMENT
Sanders said he'd need the help of a "vibrant grassroots movement all over this country that says to the billionaire class, 'Sorry — government is going to work for all of us and not just for the 1 percent.' "

Sanders, who caucuses in with Democrats in the Senate, declined to say whether he would enter into the race if Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren: Education Dept lawyer may have violated conflict-of-interest laws Congress should think twice on the Israel Anti-Boycott Act Sanders plans to introduce single-payer bill in September 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.