Bernie Sanders Dishes to Colbert About Endorsing Joe Biden: ‘He’s Not Going to Adopt My Platform, I Got That’
Late night host Stephen Colbert pressed Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders about endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sanders explained that he’s in talks with Biden about moving forward, but understands Biden is “not going to adopt my platform.”
While Sanders didn’t blurt out a formal endorsement during Wednesday night’s edition of The Late Show, the recently-dropped-out Democratic presidential candidate offered praise for Biden, and tried to set expectations for his supporters when Colbert pressed him on the issue.
“Have you spoken to the vice president since you made this decision?” Colbert asked, referring to Sanders’ withdrawal from the race.
Sanders said he has spoken with Biden, and that while “it’s no great secret” that he differs with Biden politically, he echoed comments from his earlier announcement, saying “Joe is a very decent human being. I know his wife, Jill, as well, is a wonderful person. And that I hope to be able to work with Joe to move him in a more progressive direction.”
Sanders also added that “I think Joe is a good politician. And he understands that in order to defeat the president, that in order to defeat Trump, he’s going to have to bring new people into his political world, and that he’s going to have to listen to their needs — young people, working people — and maybe start moving in a different direction to some degree than he has in the past.”
Colbert noted the similarity to earlier comments, and asked Sanders “Is that an endorsement? Is that a full-throated endorsement of Joe Biden?”
“Well, that — we’re going to be talking to Joe, and we are, we’re talking to his team of advisers,” Sanders said, then reiterated his oft-stated goal of defeating President Donald Trump.
“But I will say that we are, you know, talking to Joe and we’re talking to his team about how we can work together,” he added.
“So you’ll have those conversations, and then decide just how full your throat will be when you endorse him?” Colbert said.
“Right,” Sanders said with a laugh. “That’s what we’re working on right now is how we can best go forward together.”
Colbert then asked a key question: “What could Biden say to invite your followers?”
Sanders delivered a lengthy response that touched on his own policy priorities and those of his supporters, and noted that “I just read a statement that he made today, and I think he is moving in that direction.”
Sanders told Colbert that Biden is “not going to come to where I am. His views are different. He campaigned differently,” and went on to ad that “he’s not going to adopt my platform, I got that.”
“But if he can move in that direction I think people will say, ‘You know what, I think this is a guy we will support and should support.'” Sanders said.
Despite attempts to spin Sanders’ failure to immediately endorse Biden as conflict, or what many will see as an attempt to bigfoot Biden, Sanders appears more to be coaxing his own supporters than demanding to be coaxed by Biden.
As Sanders noted, Vice President Biden put out a lengthy statement Wednesday effusively praising Sanders and his supporters, and promising action on their priorities. But Bernie only gets one shot at doing this endorsement right, and persuading as many of his supporters — some of whom seem slightly embittered — to support Joe Biden, and they need time to get used to the idea.
Biden and Sanders seem to be on the same page in that regard. Sanders spent a good chunk of his announcement congratulating his supporters and talking about the successes of his campaign, and Biden’s statement was perhaps even more glowing toward the Sanders “movement,” as he called it.
And it’s noteworthy that Biden didn’t make his statement on video, or do any kind of televised address to celebrate the victory, or any TV news interviews following Sanders’ announcement — ceding the spotlight to Bernie in a difficult moment for his supporters.
Time will tell if it’s enough.
Watch the clip above via CBS.
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