Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest Krystal Ball tears into 'Never Trump' Republicans 2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum MORE (I-Vt.) warned viewers and the media not to treat Monday’s presidential debate as “an entertainment show,” in an interview with CNN a few hours before the first debate of the general election got started.


The former Democratic presidential candidate argued that the debate should be used as an opportunity to draw contrasts between GOP nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE and Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMissing piece to the Ukraine puzzle: State Department's overture to Rudy Giuliani On The Money: Trump downplays urgency of China trade talks | Chinese negotiators cut US trip short in new setback | Trump sanctions Iran's national bank | Survey finds Pennsylvania, Wisconsin lost the most factory jobs in past year Meghan McCain, Ana Navarro get heated over whistleblower debate MORE.

“I think what we have to do focus on the issues and not see tonight as an entertainment show,” Sanders told CNN.

“My hope is that we can focus tonight and in the future in the differences in opinions between the two candidates,” he continued. “When people see that, I think most people will perceive that Clinton is the superior candidate.”

Offering advice to Clinton ahead of the debate, Sanders, who ended his bid this summer and is now stumping for her, suggested that the former secretary of State stay on track addressing issues like raising the minimum wage and pay equity.

“She understands that she’s going up against an entertainer,” Sanders said, adding that she needs to “focus on the real issues.” 

Sanders, who has already joined Clinton on the campaign trail, said that he's still working out his appearance schedule, noting it's "very vigorous" to help get her elected to the White House
"It’s going to be a very, very vigorous schedule," Sanders said during an MSNBC interview on Monday night.
"We’re going to go all over this country where Secretary Clinton’s people think I’m needed, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to make sure Donald Trump does not become the next president."

Trump and Clinton will square off in their first debate at 9 p.m. ET, a high-profile clash that is expected to shatter TV record with an estimated audience of 100 million viewers.

They will also participate in two other presidential debates in October.

Updated 8:20 p.m.