Paul Steinhauser: Sanders tells NH1 News 'I'm not interested in criticizing Hillary'
CONCORD - Sen. Bernie Sanders says there's "growing discontent with both political parties."
But the independent senator from Vermont who's mulling a White House was in no mood to talk about Hillary Clinton.
In an interview with NH1 News on Monday, Sanders said "I think it is fair to say that many Americans consider that the Republican Party has become a very right wing party and there is disappointment that the Democratic Party has not been as strong as it should be in standing up for working families."
Sanders spoke with NH1 at the Barley House, a well-known pub in downtown Concord that's right across the street from the state capitol building.
Asked whether he was alluding to Clinton when he said there was "disappointment" towards the Democratic Party, Sanders responded "I'm not interested in Hillary Clinton. I'll tell you why. If I run it's not Hillary Clinton. That's media stuff. The issue that I'm running about is the decline of the American middle class."
"Hillary Clinton I'm sure has her point of view. I have my point of view. I'm not interested in criticizing Hillary at this time," Sanders added.
The former secretary of state is expected to announce a presidential bid as early as next month, and is considered the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic nomination.
Sanders, a two-term U.S. senator, former congressman and former Burlington mayor, has made numerous trips to New Hampshire since last summer, as he weighs a presidential bid.
Asked where he was in his decision making process, Sanders said "we're working really hard in trying to see whether there is nationally the kind of grassroots movement that we need to take on the billionaire class and to address the decline of the American middle class, to create the millions of jobs that we desperately need. So that's not an easy decision and if I do it I want to do it well. And we're also trying to determine whether or not we can raise the very substantial sums of money one needs in this day and age to run a campaign against people who have unlimited sums of money."
If he does run, he also has to decide whether he runs as an independent in the general elector or registers as a Democrat and runs for the party's nomination. Sanders told NH1 that
"running an independent campaign in 50 states in America and building up that independent political structure, getting on the ballot, that's not easy. And I gotta think about that."
Sanders said he expects to make many return visits to the first-in-the-nation primary state.
"I have a feeling that as a neighbor, it may be many. And I want to thank the people of New Hampshire. The events that we have done here have been extremely well attended, and if I run we'll certainly be doing a number of events."