Sanders: 'Maybe I would have been elected president'

Sanders: 'Maybe I would have been elected president'
© Greg Nash
Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAndrew Cuomo: Biden has best chance at 'main goal' of beating Trump Poll: Buttigieg tops Harris, O'Rourke as momentum builds Buttigieg responds to accusation of pushing a 'hate hoax' about Pence MORE (I-Vt.) bristled at the notion that he hurt Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump rips Krugman, NYT after columnist writes GOP no longer believes in American values Klobuchar jokes to Cuomo: 'I feel you creeping over my shoulder' but 'not in a Trumpian manner' Dems seek to rein in calls for impeachment MORE's chances at winning the presidency, suggesting he could have beat Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE in a general election.
When asked by The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne during a Wednesday night event whether he hurt Clinton's chances at the White House, Sanders pushed back.
"You can argue the exact reverse — that maybe I would have been elected president of the United States," Sanders said at George Washington University to cheers from the crowd. 
"The presumption behind that question is that we should anoint candidates for president, that a serious debate or candidates competing against each other is a bad thing for democracy."  
Sanders went on to argue that his presidential campaign brought "millions of people into the process" and that the vast majority likely voted for Clinton. And he said that his campaign made Clinton a "stronger candidate" because he pushed her to come out against the Keystone Pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 
The two former rivals had a tenuous relationship throughout the primary — Sanders and his allies sought to frame Clinton as too cozy with big business, while Clinton and her team cast him as unrealistic and late to the game on civil rights issues. 
Sanders did not endorse Clinton for a full month after the primary ended, but he ultimately joined forces with Clinton and campaigned hard for her campaign. When asked about that delay, he said that he wanted to make sure Clinton represented the more than 13 million voters that chose him during the primary. 
And he noted that he made 21 speeches in 12 battleground states during the last week of the campaign on her behalf. 
"Few people in this country worked harder for Hillary Clinton than I did," he said.