Merkley on delaying endorsement: 'We have a different set of cards this time'

Merkley on delaying endorsement: 'We have a different set of cards this time'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Overnight Energy: Democrats call for Ross to resign over report he threatened NOAA officials | Commerce denies report | Documents detail plan to decentralize BLM | Lawmakers demand answers on bee-killing pesticide Oregon Democrats push EPA to justify use of pesticide 'highly toxic' to bees MORE (D-Ore.) on Sunday defended his decision to delay endorsing a 2020 presidential candidate, after backing Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' Sunday shows preview: Democratic candidates make the rounds after debate MORE (I-Vt.) in the senator's 2016 bid for the White House. 

"I think it's a robust debate, it's no longer Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders," Merkley said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDershowitz: 'Too many politicians are being subject to criminal prosecution' The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Democrats spar over electoral appeal of 'Medicare for All' MORE is not a candidate. We have a different set of cards this time." 

Merkley wrote a New York Times op-ed in 2016 endorsing Sanders for his ability to address "kitchen table" issues that impact Americans. 

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Merkley told NBC's Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddBooker dismisses early surveys: 'If you're polling ahead right now, you should worry' O'Rourke's debate moment reignites gun debate on Sunday shows Liz Cheney says world is more stable, 'safer' under Trump MORE on Sunday that he feels there are "a lot of capable individuals running" for the 2020 nomination who "understand the kitchen table."

The crowded field of Democratic primary candidates are taking on health care, housing, living wage jobs an other issues "incredibly neglected" under the Trump administration, Merkley said. 

"I'm looking forward to them laying out that vision getting America excited," Merkley said.