Bernie Sanders

Interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News' "This Week"

February 28, 2016

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're joined now by Bernie Sanders. He joins us this morning.

Thank you for joining us, Senator Sanders. Appreciate you being with us this morning.

So what do you make of what happened in South Carolina last night. Nearly a 50 point win for Senator Clinton -- Secretary Clinton.

SANDERS: We got decimated, George. We got decimated. The only positive thing for us is we won the actually -- the 29 years of age and younger vote. And that was good. But we got killed.

But I'm in Minnesota now. We think we're going to do very well in Minnesota on Super Tuesday, Colorado we're going to do well, Oklahoma we're going to do well. I think we're going to win in Massachusetts. And I believe we're going to win in Vermont. And we're going to do better than people think in other states.

George, we began this campaign, as you know, at 3 percent in the polls, 60 or 70 points behind Secretary Clinton. We have come a very long way. Our message about a rigged economy -- rich get richer, everyone else gets poorer -- is resonating.

And I'll tell you what else is resonating, a corrupt campaign finance system that's allowing billionaires to buy elections.

I think we have the momentum. I think it's going to be a tough fight. I think we can win this thing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, and Senator Sanders, from the very start you've been a straight talker to come right out and say you were decimated. You're continuing that tradition as well.

Let me just follow up on South Carolina for one second. You saw that vote in the African-American community, something like 85 percent for Hillary Clinton. You've got going forward about 25 percent of the voters in the Democratic primaries are African-Americans. Aren't you going to have to do much better, reach out to that community, to have a chance for this nomination?

SANDERS: Yes. Absolutely. But I do think -- no argument with you. You are correct. But I think you're going to see us doing -- and I think the polls indicated it, much better within the African- American community outside of the deep south. You're going to see us much better in New York State where I think we have a shot to win, in California and in Michigan.

But you're right, we're going to have to do a lot better.

But I think what we are doing is putting together a coalition of working class people, of young people, of many other folks who understand that economy today is not working for the middle class, it's working for the people on top, people who have strong reservations about Secretary Clinton's foreign policy, a vote the war in Iraq.

So we think we have come a long way; we think we've got a lot of work in front of us. But, George, I think we can win this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Looking ahead to Super Tuesday, new polls out this morning show Secretary Clinton with large leads in those Southern states you just talked about: Texas, Tennessee and Georgia. She's going to build up delegates there.

You're going to win big in your home state of Vermont.

Where else can you win on Super Tuesday?

And if you don't win in other states, how can you go on?

SANDERS: Well, we're going to go on to California, by the way, where we think we have a real shot and where most -- that's the state with the most delegates -- Barb Reich (ph), former Clinton Secretary of Labor, just endorsed me the other day. I think we have a good chance to win in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, a lot of young people are burdened with this outrageous student debt. The young people and their parents want public colleges and universities, to be tuition free and they want the wealthy and large corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes.

We were in Oklahoma the other day, in Tulsa. We had a wonderful, wonderful turnout. We're going to Oklahoma City later today. We were in Texas just yesterday, George. We had 10,000 people out in Austin; 8,000 people out in Dallas. It's a tough state for us. But I think we're going to do better than that polling indicated.

So I think we have a shot to win a number of states on Super Tuesday, do better than people thought and think in other states. And I think in some of the larger states like Michigan, New York State, California, we've got a shot to win those states.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And as you say, on to California; thanks for joining us this morning, Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: Thank you.

Bernie Sanders, Interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News' "This Week" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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