Hillary Clinton says Bernie Sanders’s reluctance to concede the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination before the party’s convention was disrespectful, hurtful and stood in stark contrast to the way she handled her primary loss to Barack Obama in 2008.
“I had such a different experience in ’08,” Clinton said in an interview with the “Pod Save America” podcast that was posted on Tuesday. “Once it was over, it was over. And I quickly endorsed President Obama. I worked really hard to get him elected. I was still arguing with my supporters at the Denver convention, telling people, ‘Don’t be ridiculous. You’ve got to vote for Senator Obama, at the time.’ And I was thrilled when he got elected.”
“I didn’t get anything like that respect from Sanders and his supporters,” Clinton said. “And it hurt. You know, to have basically captured the nomination, ending up with more than 4 million votes than he had. And he dragged it out.”
Sanders formally endorsed Clinton on July 12, 2016 — two weeks before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia — and campaigned for Clinton during the general election.
“Why would we be surprised? He’s not a Democrat,” she said. “And that’s not a slam on him — that is just a repetition of what he says about himself.”
In the book, out Tuesday, Clinton claims that the “attacks” Sanders leveled at her during the primary campaign “caused lasting damage,” made it harder to “unify progressives” and paved the way for Donald Trump’s “Crooked Hillary” refrain.
“I don’t know if that bothered Bernie or not,” Clinton writes. “He certainly shared my horror at the thought of Donald Trump becoming President, and I appreciated that he campaigned for me in the general election. But he isn’t a Democrat.”
“He didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House,” she adds. “He got in to disrupt the Democratic Party.”
Clinton also argues that Sanders’s presence in the primary prevented her from running a “feisty and progressive campaign,” especially in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.
“We were certainly trying to run that kind of campaign,” Clinton said in the podcast interview. “His claims, which he could not defend — really not even explain…