Sanders: 'I like Hillary Clinton'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersMellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) Former Sanders campaign manager: Don't expect email list to be shared with DNC Adult film star: Trump and Stormy Daniels invited me to 'hang out' MORE (I-Vt.) said Sunday that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) MORE's campaign will outspend him in pursuing the Democratic presidential nomination, but declined to directly criticize her on main issues.

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"I like Hillary Clinton. I respect Hillary Clinton," Sanders said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Will the media, among others, allow us to have a civil debate on civil issues? Or is the only way you're going to get media attention by ripping apart somebody else?" Sanders asked. "I certainly hope that's not the case."

Sanders, who has previously acknowledged that he may be outspent but has shied away from naming Clinton in that regard, said his campaign has raised more than $4 million since it launched April 30.

Most of the donations have been small-dollar – $43 on average, he said Sunday – from 100,000 contributors.

"Hillary Clinton will have a lot more money than we have," Sanders said.

Clinton's cash haul for 2016 is estimated $2.5 billion, with the former secretary of State hitting a trio of $2,700-per-person fundraisers in New York last week alone to raise around $1 million, according to Bloomberg.

Sanders said Sunday that he has "led the effort in taking on Wall Street" and on a number of progressive issues, such as opposing trade deals currently being negotiated by the U.S. and being debated in Congress.

"I believe there is more discontentment with establishment politics, with the greed of corporate America, than many people perceive," Sanders said when asked about his role in the 2016 presidential race.

Asked if he was courting those who hoped to goad Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) into the presidential race to challenge Clinton from the left, Sanders said, "I think on many of the same issues, Elizabeth Warren and I come out on the same page."

Sanders has maintained that he would not criticize Clinton, but run a positive campaign. On Sunday, he argued that that he is "prepared to engage in serious debate" on issues with other Democratic contenders.