CBS NEWS' "FACE THE NATION" INTERVIEW
WITH SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT)
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JOHN DICKERSON: Welcome back to Face the Nation. We turn now to Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who is in Burlington, Vermont this morning. Senator, you're in Burlington. You're going to meet with advisors and your top staff. What are your options now in the campaign as so many Democrats have now rallied behind Hillary Clinton?
BERNIE SANDERS: Well, first of all, I will do everything that I can to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States. I think that the fact that we have a candidate running on a campaign of bigotry, of insulting Mexicans, and Muslims, and women is just not the kind of president obviously that this country needs.
Not to mention his refusal to accept the reality that climate change is real that we should not be giving huge tax breaks to billionaires. I'm going to do everything I can to defeat Mr. Trump. I will be meeting as I understand it on Tuesday night with Secretary Clinton. And I will get a sense from her about the nature of the Democratic platform.
Because, John, to me, one has always been important. It's how we address the major crises that we face. The declining middle class. Income and wealth inequality. The fact that so many of our young people cannot afford to go to college anymore. And the fact that we lose 40,000 people every year who can't go to the doctor too late.
These are issues that have got to be dealt with. And I look forward to sitting down with Secretary Clinton to see what kind of platform she is going to support and in fact how aggressive she is going to be in addressing the major crises that we face.
JOHN DICKERSON: I want to ask you about those issues in a moment, senator. But if your goal is to do everything you can to defeat Donald Trump, isn't the fastest route to that goal endorsing Hillary Clinton?
BERNIE SANDERS: Well, not necessarily. It’s not just - obviously, I will do everything I can to defeat Trump. But what's equally important to me is transforming America and addressing these crises. And we have worked with, you know, with thousands of people all over this country who are adamant that we have got to take on the big money interests. Got to take on the drugs companies and the fossil fuel industry. And we've got to take on Wall Street.
So that is what I am going to do. And dependent on how Secretary Clinton comes down on many of these major issues will determine how closely we can work with her. But make no mistake about it. Bernie Sanders and I think many millions of my supporters will be doing everything that we can to defeat Mr. Trump.
JOHN DICKERSON: When you meet with Hillary Clinton, your supporters might think, "Well, she'll make promises in a room to get your endorsement. But how does Bernie Sanders make sure those promises have some staying power?"
BERNIE SANDERS: Well, that's a great question, John. And that's exactly what we will be talking about. You know, generally speaking, a platform is a piece of paper tucked away in some kind of drawer. But I do not want that to be the case. Nor do millions of people who voted for real change want that to be the case.
And that is exactly what Secretary Clinton and I will be talking about. Look, I happen to believe that not only is it the right thing to stand up to Wall Street. Not only is it the right thing to make public colleges and universities tuition free or demand that corporate America and the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes.
You know what I think? I think it's good politics as well. Because that's what I believe the American people want. They are sick and tired of the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality and the movement of this country into an oligarchic form of society. That's the case that I will make. And, you know, it’s up to Secretary Clinton to determine how she responds and what kind of campaign she chooses to run. So that's kind of where we are.
JOHN DICKERSON: You mention the fact that platforms sometimes get discussed, and then go away, and have no real teeth in them. In 1980, Senator Kennedy tried to make it the case that anybody who got money from the Democratic Party had to say they were for a very specific set of platform issues, tried to put some commitments in there. Are you trying to do anything like that that kind of codifies--
BERNIE SANDERS: Well, we are. I mean, and, by the way, the answer is yes. Although, you know, the devil is in the details as to how you do that. But the other issue, John, has to do with transformation of the Democratic Party. Look, it is no secret. All of my colleagues will tell you and Republicans as well that senators and members of Congress spend enormous amounts of time raising money from the wealthy and the powerful.
We have super PACs dominating the political process. That has got to change. And I want to see the Democratic Party be a party that is open to working people and the issues that they are concerned about, to the energy and the idealism of young people. That is what we need. And that is also part of what the discussion will be about in the coming weeks with Secretary Clinton and her staff as well as at the Democratic convention.
JOHN DICKERSON: Finally, senator, Donald Trump has said that your supporters should support him because you were beaten in a rigged system. What's your response to that?
BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I think we do need to change the primary and caucus system in a profound way. I think the idea that 400 super delegates were on board Secretary Clinton's campaign eight months or nine months before the first ballot was cast in Iowa is totally absurd. But let me be very clear.
My supporters understand very well that a man like Trump who runs his campaign on trying to divide us up, on bigotry, who denies the reality of climate change, who wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top 2/10ths of 1%, this is not a man who should become president of the United States.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks so much for being with us. And we'll be right back with our panel.
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