Saturday 3 December 2016

Bernie Sanders to back Hillary Clinton White House bid in New Hampshire visit

Published 12/07/2016 | 09:34

Bernie Sanders backs Mrs Clinton for the White House (AP)
Bernie Sanders backs Mrs Clinton for the White House (AP)

Bernie Sanders is offering his long-awaited endorsement to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, hoping to transfer the energy of his campaign into the party's fight against Republican Donald Trump.

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Mr Sanders and Mrs Clinton are returning to New Hampshire on Tuesday for the first time since he won a 22-point landslide in the state's presidential primary.

Democrats familiar with the plans said Mr Sanders will publicly endorse Mrs Clinton's White House bid after weeks of negotiations between the Clinton and Sanders campaigns.

The joint event at a Portsmouth high school will seek to project Democratic unity before Republicans formally nominate Mr Trump next week in Cleveland.

Mrs Clinton has campaigned with President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in recent weeks, warning Democrats of the threat of a Trump presidency.

While Mrs Clinton took only a few days to endorse Mr Obama after the primaries in 2008, Mr Sanders has held out for the past month, seeking to influence the party's platform and future. The Democratic candidates met at a Washington hotel in June and their campaigns have been in frequent contact since then.

Mrs Clinton last week rolled out proposals on college affordability and access to healthcare, winning praise from Mr Sanders, and the platform agreed to last weekend in Florida includes many of Mr Sanders' priorities, including a 15 dollars-an-hour (£11.60) minimum wage.

Recent polls have shown that many Sanders voters plan to back Mrs Clinton but have reservations about her honesty. Mr Sanders has said he will do all he can to prevent Mr Trump from winning the White House and the senator's vouching for Mrs Clinton could help her with the independents, liberals and millennials who flocked to his primary campaign.

The Vermont senator saw his longshot bid for the White House quickly catch fire in 2015 at large-scale rallies where he denounced income inequality, the influence of Wall Street and the role of big money in politics.

His campaign was powered by an impressive online fundraising machine that raised more than 200 million US dollars (£154 million) and threatened Mrs Clinton's once overwhelming lead in the primaries with the help of voters drawn to his anti-establishment message.

Mr Sanders' unruly white hair and glasses were often depicted in campaign offices and on T-shirts and a campaign catchphrase, "Feel the Bern", marked his rise online. Comedian Larry David portrayed him on Saturday Night Live and the senator made an appearance on the show before the New Hampshire primary.

Mr Sanders' challenge influenced Mrs Clinton's shift to the left on several issues, including her opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline between Canada and the US, and her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement.

AP

Press Association

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