Bernie Sanders Officially Endorses Hillary Clinton at New Hampshire Rally

"This campaign is about the needs of the American people," Bernie Sander said

Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Better late than never?

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed former presidential rival Hillary Clinton during a joint appearance at a campaign event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, more than a month after he lost the nomination to the former secretary of state.

At an event conspicuously staged to showcase a somewhat forced party unity, Clinton and Sanders took the stage together for the first time, walking out to the sounds of Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own.”

Sanders began by thanking the 13 million Americans who voted for him during the primary, including voters in New Hampshire, where he defeated Clinton by a wide margin in the first primary of the election season.

Sanders then acknowledged, to wild cheers from the crowd, that “Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process.”

“And I congratulate her for that,” he added. “She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.”

“I have come here today not to talk about the past but to focus on the future. That future will be shaped more by what happens on November 8 in voting booths across our nation than by any other event in the world.”

“I have come here to make it as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton,” he continued, prompting the audience to erupt in cheers and chants of “Hill-a-ry! Hill-a-ry!” “And why she must become our next president.”

“During the last year I have had the extraordinary opportunity to speak to more than 1.4 million Americans at rallies in almost every state in our country the profound lesson that I have learned is that this campaign is not really about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders or any other candidate who sought the presidency. This campaign is about the needs of the American people and addressing the very serious crises that we face. And there is no doubt in my mind that as we head into November, Hillary Clinton is far and away the best candidate to do that.”

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Sanders later handed the microphone over to Clinton, who declared to her supporters: “We are joining forces to defeat Donald Trump!”

“I can’t help but say how much more enjoyable this election is going to be when we are on the same side,” she added. “You know what? We are stronger together!”

The former secretary of state went on to praise the senator for energizing and inspiring “a generation of young people” and bringing “people off the sidelines.” Clinton also thanked Sanders for his endorsement – “but more than that, thank you for your lifetime of fighting injustice. I am proud to be fighting alongside you.”

The Vermont senator’s endorsement comes after President Barack Obama, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Joe Biden all endorsed Clinton in similar joint appearances in recent weeks.

But it’s safe to say that Sanders – who unexpectedly emerged as a fierce challenger to Clinton in the Democratic primary – was the toughest nut to crack.

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