As Race Drags On, Clinton Says Sanders Has ‘Right’ to Continue

  • Senator, trailing in delegates, has vowed fight to convention
  • Mark Cuban surfaces as long-shot VP pick for the Democrat

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton said her challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders, has “every right” to finish his campaign how he chooses, even though her extended 2008 contest for the nomination with Barack Obama was much closer than this year’s battle.

The former secretary of State also isn’t concerned that Sanders’s sharp criticisms of the Democratic Party’s nomination process, and the potential for a chaotic party convention in July, is helping Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, she said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Clinton leads the Vermont senator by 2,293 delegates to 1,533, with 2,383 needed to secure the nomination, according to tallies by the Associated Press that include superdelegates -- party leaders and elected officials not formally bound to any candidate.

Trailing in the popular vote as well as with pledged delegates, Sanders in recent weeks made a case that superdelegates committed to Clinton should flip, based on opinion polls that show him running more strongly against Trump than Clinton is.

‘Larger Margins’

“If you look at virtually all of the polls done in the last six, seven weeks, in every one of them, nationally polls and statewide polls, we defeat Trump by larger margins -- in some cases, significantly larger margins -- than does Secretary Clinton,” Sanders said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls released on Sunday showed Clinton edging Trump by 3 points in a hypothetical general election matchup, while Sanders would trounce the Republican by 15 points.

The Vermont senator cast himself as a more popular choice in an election where Trump and Clinton have high unfavorable ratings.

Harshly Viewed

A Washington Post-ABC News survey released on Sunday showed the pair together were the most harshly viewed major party nominees of any presidential year since at least 1984. Some 60 percent of Americans view Trump unfavorably compared with 53 percent, including 57 percent of registered voters, for Clinton.

Sanders has emphasized his more favorable ratings as a special weapon against the Republican nominee. “I don’t want to see the American people voting for the lesser of two evils,” he said on ABC.

Clinton, however, said Sanders simply hasn’t had to face the type of attacks that may drive up his negatives with voters. “I don’t think he’s had a single negative ad ever run against him.”

Clinton has said that Trump, the brash real-estate developer who dominated the Republican nominating contest, was unfit to be president. She continued her criticism on Sunday.

Clinton’s Veepstakes

“There’s no evidence he has any ideas about making America great, as he advertises,” she said of Trump. “He seems to be particularly focused on making himself appear great.” Trump also needs to release his tax returns, to “prove that he actually has the level of success he claims to have,” she said.

As for choosing her a running mate, Clinton said she would consider a range of options including “successful business people.”

Mark Cuban, billionaire businessman and owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, has surfaced recently as a outsider vice-presidential pick for Clinton. He said on NBC on Sunday that he would “absolutely” be open to consideration, adding that he’d have the same conversation with Trump. “The key would be that she’d have to go more to the center,” Cuban said of the former first lady.

“I appreciate his openness to it,” Clinton said of Cuban, who also appears on ABC’s “Shark Tank” reality series. “We should look widely and broadly. It’s not just people in elective office.”

Sanders, asked if he would be interested in joining the Democratic ticket under Clinton, said on ABC it was “too early to talk about that.”

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