By Jasper Craven, VTDigger.org
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — After weeks of withholding his official support, Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Tuesday, July 12.
“Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that,” Sanders said in a rhetorical shift from recent weeks, when the democratic socialist suggested a national convention fight could change the outcome.
“She will be the Democratic nominee for president,” Sanders told a crowd in Portsmouth. “And I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.”
Sanders spoke first, with Clinton at his side. The Vermont senator spoke highly of Clinton, listing achievements from her years as first lady, U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state under President Barack Obama.
He also spoke repeatedly about the need to defeat the expected Republican nominee, Donald Trump.
“While Hillary Clinton supports making our tax code fairer, Donald Trump wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the very wealthiest people in this country,” he said. “His reckless economic policies will not only exacerbate income and wealth inequality, they would increase our national debt by trillions of dollars.”
Ticking off the signature issues he trumpeted throughout the primary season — from campaign finance reform to environmental regulation — Sanders repeatedly assured his supporters in the crowd that “Hillary Clinton understands.” He said he was “proud to stand with her.”
In a departure from his campaign stump speeches, Sanders read his remarks off a teleprompter, receiving loud cheers from people in the crowd, many of whom held Clinton campaign signs reading “Stronger Together.”
When Clinton approached the podium after Sanders’ remarks, she looked relieved, telling the crowd, “I can’t help reflect how much more enjoyable this election is going to be now that we are on the same side.”
While Sanders vouched for Clinton in his remarks, she also offered a pitch rife with taglines and proposals in line with those of the Vermont senator, often introducing ideas with the words “Just like Bernie …”
“Bernie is right, $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage,” Clinton said. Minutes later, she called for automatic voter registration, insisting it was not “a radical idea.”
Clinton promised that if elected, she would work to institute a federal jobs program larger than the New Deal, oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership and appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Citizens United, a court decision that allowed large sums to flow into political campaigns.
Since the primary season ended in June, the Clinton and Sanders camps have been speaking daily in efforts to heal primary wounds and work together on an agenda that borrows heavily from the Sanders campaign.