Sanders: Clinton will play vital role in future of the Democratic Party

Sanders: Clinton will play vital role in future of the Democratic Party
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Health Care: DOJ charges doctors over illegal opioid prescriptions | Cummings accuses GOP of obstructing drug pricing probe | Sanders courts Republican voters with 'Medicare for All' | Dems probe funding of anti-abortion group Ex-Obama campaign manager: Sanders can't beat Trump Booker calls for sweeping voting rights reforms MORE (I-Vt.) said Thursday that his former presidential rival, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcAuliffe says he won't run for president in 2020 Chuck Todd slams reports that DOJ briefed Trump on Mueller findings: 'This is actual collusion' Crowdfund campaign to aid historically black churches hit by fires raises over M MORE, will play a vital role in shaping the future for Democrats as the party seeks to recover from her disastrous election loss to Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE.

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“She has a very important role to play,” Sanders said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “She got more votes than Mr. Trump and was the Democratic nominee, so it goes without saying she has a very important role to play in the Democratic Party. ... We will not agree on every issue, but her voice is an important one and needs to be heard.”

Sanders disputed the notion that his attacks against Clinton — most notably on her paid speeches to Wall Street banks — may have contributed to her defeat in the general election against Trump.

“At the end of the day my candidacy ended up being helpful,” Sanders said. “If we believe that candidates should not be anointed — the Republicans had 17 candidates for their position. We had a heated, issue-oriented campaign, and my campaign brought millions of people into the political process, most of whom voted for Hillary Clinton. It played a positive role.”

Clinton made her first post-election public appearance on Wednesday night since her stunning defeat that has left Democrats in rebuilding mode.

Speaking at a Children’s Defense Fund gala in Washington, D.C., Clinton talked about the emotionally wrenching days she’s endured since her surprise defeat.

“I will admit, coming here tonight wasn't the easiest thing for me," Clinton said. "There have been a few times this past week where all I wanted to do was curl up with a good book and our dogs and never leave the house again."