Hillary Clinton on Monday compared her failed 2008 presidential campaign to the current run by rival Bernie Sanders, saying she hopes to work with Sanders should she win the Democratic nomination.
During a question and answer session at a custom software company in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Clinton was asked how she plans to win over Sanders’ ardent and vocal supporters.
“I’m very hopeful that I will be the Democratic nominee — and I’ve said this publicly — (I hope) to work with him … to make sure that we are No. 1 in keeping those issues (important to him) front and center on the top of the nation’s priorities,” Clinton said, before pivoting to her comparison.
Clinton said she wanted to work with Sanders “the way I supported President Obama after I dropped out back in 2008.”
“We ran a really tough primary. At the end of it he won, I lost,” Clinton said. “I had a lot of passionate supporters who did not feel like they wanted to support then-Sen. Obama, so from the time I dropped out to the day before that election in November I worked as hard as I could, I nominated him at the convention.”
Clinton added: “I would hope to be able to enlist Bernie in helping me reach out to his supporters if I am fortunate enough to be the nominee.”
The honest answer is a sign that Clinton is growing more comfortable nodding to the fact that she is the odds on favorite to be the Democratic nominee. For much of 2015 and the start of this year, Clinton and her aides looked to make clear that she didn’t see herself as the presumptive nominee.
But armed now with a number of wins and a roughly 200 delegate lead over Sanders, Clinton has grown more confident that she will be the Democrat nominee in Philadelphia in July.
Clinton looks to grow her delegate lead on Tuesday when Democrats in Michigan pick their candidate. Clinton is currently leading by double digits in almost all polls.
Clinton’s comments come the say day that the senator’s top strategist suggested in an interview that Sanders could be vice president to Clinton.
“Maybe they’re going to put him on the ticket then,” said Tad Devine when asked by Politico’s Glenn Thrush in a podcast about Clinton supporters appreciating the way Sanders energizes young voters.
Devine added that “of course” Sanders would consider the vice presidential slot.
“Anyone would,” Devine said. “But I don’t think there’s any plan for that, certainly no one’s talking about anything like that.”
Clinton aides have said there are currently no plans to make Sanders her running mate and knock down the speculation as getting ahead of the race.
That said, Clinton’s campaign has eyed a number of top Democratic politicians — including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Tim Kaine and Sen. Cory Booker — as possible vice presidential nominees.