Sanders endorses Clinton at NH rally

Sanders endorses Clinton at NH rally

PORTSMOUTH, NH (RNN) - Hillary Clinton credited Bernie Sanders for bringing people off the sidelines and into the political process, particularly young people, as she accepted the endorsement of her former Democratic rival for president.

"His reputation for passionate advocacy hasn't always made him the most popular person in Washington," she said Tuesday. "But you know what? That's generally a sign you're doing something right."

Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, endorsed the former secretary of state at a rally at Portsmouth High School. Clinton spoke about policies the two had worked together on, including making college tuition-free at state schools for families making less than $125,000.

She also pledged to "crack down" on businesses that shipped American jobs and profits overseas.

"Let's reward companies that share profits with their employees instead," Clinton said.

Sanders spoke on many of the stances he fought for as a presidential candidate - a $15 federal minimum wage, rebuilding infrastructure and battling man-made climate change - positions Clinton has pledged to support.

"Hillary Clinton also understands that millions of our seniors, disabled veterans and others are struggling with the outrageously high cost of prescription drugs," he said. "She and I are in agreement that Medicare must negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry and we must expand the use of generic medicine.

"Drug companies should not be making billions in profit while one out of five Americans are unable to afford the medicine they need. The greed of the drug companies must end."

He also spoke about her presumptive Republican opponent, Donald Trump.

"(Trump's) reckless economic policies will not only exacerbate income and wealth inequality, they will increase our national debt by trillions of dollars," he said.

The endorsement marks the end for Sanders' presidential run, although he never formally announced the suspension of his campaign. He proved a strong challenger for Clinton in the Democratic nomination process, and a contentious primary left many wondering if the party could unite.

The Democrats took a step in that direction following weeks of meetings to come together on policies, Clinton said. The move was highly anticipated and considered long overdue by many party operatives.

His endorsement came two weeks before the Democratic National Convention and a week after the Democratic platform was set, which his campaign was able to influence.

Clinton has begun to embrace a public option for healthcare, which Sanders has long supported. During the primary, she was critical of that position as being too expensive. The party also embraced a $15 national minimum wage, another of Sanders' proposals.

Sanders' announcement came a week after the FBI announced it was not recommending charges against Clinton for her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.

Many saw that as the final hurdle Clinton needed to clear to earn the nomination and that Sanders had stayed in the race to be the alternative option should an indictment be handed down.

The issue was discussed at length during the primary, but was not something Sanders pushed. In the first Democratic debate on Oct. 13, 2015, Sanders famously said, "the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails ... enough of the emails, let's talk about the real issues facing America."

The comment drew raucous applause and a handshake from Clinton, but Sanders was criticized for not attacking Clinton for what the FBI called "careless" handling of classified information.

Sanders performed well among younger voters and independents, important demographics in the general election and groups with whom Trump has little appeal.

Sanders established early momentum when he defeated Clinton soundly in the New Hampshire primary. He criticized both Clinton and the nomination process throughout the primary season. He was opposed to Clinton's relationship with big banks and campaign fundraising, repeatedly calling on her to release transcripts of speeches she made to Wall Street firms and alleging she would not be able to take regulatory action because of their donations.

He was also highly critical of the Democrats' use of super delegates, party officials who vote for the nominee at the convention who aren't bound by the votes of their states. Clinton was able to amass a large delegate lead thanks to super delegates, who overwhelmingly supported her over Sanders. Late in the campaign, Sanders referred to the system as "rigged."

He had vowed to continue his campaign through the convention and to challenge Clinton on the convention floor.

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