Emphasizing party unity, Sanders formally endorses Clinton in Portsmouth

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton embrace after Sanders delivered his endorsement speech to a crowd at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton embrace during a rally at Portsmouth High School on Tuesday. Sanders endorsed Clinton during the event. BELOW: Maria O’Rourke (center), a Sanders supporter from Long Island, N.Y., attended Tuesday’s rally. She said her “heart is broken” over Sanders’s endorsement of Clinton and that she plans to leave the Democratic Party. Photos by ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders formally endorsed former rival Hillary Clinton at a joint campaign event at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders formally endorsed former rival Hillary Clinton at a joint campaign event at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders formally endorsed former rival Hillary Clinton at a joint campaign event at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders formally endorsed former rival Hillary Clinton at a joint campaign event at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Gov. Maggie Hassan speaks during a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen speaks during a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders formally endorsed former rival Hillary Clinton at a joint campaign event at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Hillary Clinton smiles in the background as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders formally endorses his former rival at a joint campaign event at Portsmouth High School on Tuesday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Hillary Clinton speaks during a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders formally endorsed former rival Hillary Clinton at a joint campaign event at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from a joint campaign between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former rival Hillary Clinton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Sanders formally endorsed Clinton during the event. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

 Monitor staff
Published: 7/12/2016 1:41:59 PM

Bernie Sanders returned to New Hampshire on Tuesday, the site of his first Democratic primary win, this time with a different message.

After weeks of speculation as to whether he would endorse former rival Hillary Clinton or lobby for a contested Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia later this month, Sanders set the record straight as he took the stage in the gymnasium at Portsmouth High School in front of a roaring crowd of thousands.

While his campaign had won contests in 22 states and scored nearly 1,900 delegates, he said it wasn’t enough to win the Democratic nomination.

“I have come here today not to talk about the past, but to focus on the future,” Sanders said, adding there is no doubt in his mind that Clinton is the best candidate to implement a progressive agenda as president.

“I will do everything to make certain she will be the next president,” he said.

Sanders’s endorsement comes after increased collaboration between the campaigns, with Clinton signing onto a number of Sanders’s more progressive plans for education and health care, including a recent proposal to eliminate tuition at in-state public colleges and universities for families who make up to $125,000 per year.

Even though Sanders was technically conceding defeat in his quest to become president Tuesday, some of his most vocal supporters didn’t see it that way.

“In a way, it was a triumph for the issues he raised,” said New Hampshire state Rep. Renny Cushing, a Hampton Democrat and vocal Sanders supporter during the primary. Cushing said he plans to support Clinton as the nominee.

“Bernie set out to create a political revolution in this country,” Cushing said. “I think Hillary Clinton has become part of the political revolution.”

Clinton’s speech touched on a number of issues including the economy, gun violence, the environment and community policing.

She committed to investing significant government resources in job creation, opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, lowering the cost of higher education and expanding funding for the nation’s community health centers.

She and Sanders reserved harsh words for the Republican Party and its presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, saying the policy positions of both would move the country backwards.

Clinton also borrowed a few of Sanders’s most popular phrases about income inequality and tax breaks for the nation’s wealthy.

“When people say the game is rigged, the best evidence is our tax code,” Clinton said. “It is wrong that millionaires pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries and we’re going to stop it.”

Some prominent Sanders supporters said they were looking to see whether Clinton’s progressive promises would be matched by her actions in the coming months.

Concord lawyer and Executive Council candidate Andru Volinsky said that while he will support Clinton, he is also watching who she would pick for her cabinet if elected as a sign of her commitment to a progressive agenda. He said he hoped her pick for treasury secretary would not have a background as a Wall Street venture capitalist or banker.

“She said all of the appropriate things today and I was really pleased with her speech, but now not only does that have to continue, but she has to make concrete those ideals by starting to identify the people she will bring into government with her,” Volinsky said.

Sanders supporters will come around to Clinton as long as her actions match her words, he said.

“There’s time to compromise . . . but if you don’t have core values you’re committed to, you don’t have the ability to determine what’s worth fighting for,” Volinsky said.

The energy inside the Portsmouth High gymnasium was high as Clinton and Sanders supporters stood side by side, waving the signs of their respective candidates. The crowd roared, stomped their feet on the bleachers and members shouted out their support for issues such as banning fracking and rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a way that was reminiscent of Sanders’s earlier campaign events during the New Hampshire primary.

While there were many who chanted “Bernie! Bernie!” repeatedly, there was also a new chant going around the room: “Unity! Unity!” Many held up signs emblazoned with the Clinton campaign’s new slogan: Stronger Together.

Sanders stood slightly behind Clinton as she delivered her remarks to the crowd, nodding as she ran down a list of issues.

He said that though the campaigns have had differences in the past, he was pleased with the party platform they collaborated on in recent weeks.

“I am proud to stand with her today,” he said as the crowd roared its approval in response.

Longtime Clinton supporter and Concord lawyer Terry Shumaker said the mix of supporters coming together was a great moment in the election.

“The show of unity was obvious,” he said, noting the “different shades of blue” around the room. “Really, it was striking.”

Sanders didn’t mince his words, saying he planned to travel the United States stumping for Clinton and other Democratic candidates in down-ticket races in an attempt to make the party’s platform a reality.

“I intend to be in every corner of this country to make certain that happens,” Sanders said. “I think we can all agree that much, much more needs to be done.”

Shumaker said he believed Sanders’s endorsement was enthusiastic, rather than resigned; an important element to energizing the Vermont senator’s voting base and encouraging them to vote come November.

“I think it will make a difference,” he said. “I think they’re going to make a good team.”

Clinton addressed the Sanders supporters at the end of her speech.

“To everyone who poured your heart and soul into Sen. Sanders’s campaign, thank you,” she said. “Let’s open the doors to everyone who shares our progressive values. You’ll always have a seat at the table when I am in the White House.”

(Ella Nilsen can be reached at 369-3322, enilsen@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @ella_nilsen.)




Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301
603-224-5301

 

© 2021 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy