Clinton: Sanders and supporters did not do enough to unify party in 2016

Clinton: Sanders and supporters did not do enough to unify party in 2016
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Former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war Should Biden consider a veteran for vice president? Biden leads Trump by nearly 40 points in California: poll MORE accused Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersLongtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary Hillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation Schiff, Khanna call for free masks for all Americans in coronavirus aid package MORE (I-Vt.) and his supporters of not doing enough to unify the party behind her White House bid in 2016 and said that their behavior affected the general election.

“All the way up until the end, a lot of people highly identified with his campaign were urging people to vote third party, urging people not to vote,” she said in an interview on the podcast “Your Primary Playlist.” “It had an impact.”

Clinton accused Sanders’s supporters of drawing out the nominating contest by refusing to come around to her presidential campaign all the way through to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

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“So fast forward. I mean, you had, unfortunately, a very different outcome in the 2016 primary, where I won by 4 million votes. I won overwhelmingly in delegates,” said Clinton. “There was no question about who was going to be the nominee.”

“But unfortunately, you know, his campaign and his principal supporters were just very difficult and really, constantly not just attacking me, but my supporters," she added. 

Clinton also drew a sharp contrast between Sanders’s alleged lackluster efforts to back her and her efforts to support Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBass honored US Communist Party leader in unsurfaced remarks WNBA players wear 'Vote Warnock' shirts in support of Loeffler Democratic challenger Michelle Obama wishes Barack a happy birthday: 'My favorite guy' MORE after his primary victory over her in 2008, saying the difference was “night and day.”

“That cannot happen again,” Clinton added. “I don’t care who the nominee is. I don’t care. As long as it’s somebody who can win, and as long as it’s somebody who understands politics is the art of addition, not subtraction.”

The comments Friday come after and expand on a recently reignited feud between Clinton and Sanders.

The former secretary of State raised eyebrows recently when she said in an interview that “nobody likes” Sanders.

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“He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him. Nobody wants to work with him. He got nothing done. He was a career politician. It's all just baloney, and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it,” Clinton said.

The comments sparked concerns from progressives that Clinton, who still holds sway over moderate voters, would not back Sanders should he emerge as the nominee. Clinton later clarified that she would back whoever wins the Democratic nomination later this year.

Sanders has consistently polled as a top-tier candidate since launching his campaign, but he has enjoyed a surge of support in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire in particular in the lead up to the caucuses and primary in the two states.

Heading into the primary season, Clinton urged Democrats to focus on candidates who could beat President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE in crucial swing states in November.

“I think people need to have to really think hard about who can beat Trump. And it’s not the popular vote, as I learned to my own grave disappointment,” she said. “Those are going to be tough states to win. So I just want us to be really focused on winning. That’s all I care about.”