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Bernie Sanders Campaigns Hard Ahead Of California Primary

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

If you live in California, you've had plenty of chances to see Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in recent days. It's one of the six states voting tomorrow, and of course it's the biggest. But no matter what happens in California, Hillary Clinton is expected to win the number of delegates she needs to claim the nomination tomorrow.

But on the campaign trail, you can hear both sides grappling with what that will mean. We begin with NPR's Sam Sanders.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Bernie, Bernie, Bernie...

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Most of Bernie Sanders' life the past few weeks has sounded like that as the candidate crisscrosses California looking for votes.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BERNIE SANDERS: Hello.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hi, Bernie.

B. SANDERS: Good. Are you going to vote on Tuesday?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Of course I am.

B. SANDERS: All right.

S. SANDERS: But today the candidate took some time to answer questions and tell the press what happens next. And it seems Sanders didn't enjoy that nearly as much.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

B. SANDERS: Is that a serious question?

S. SANDERS: The first question at a press conference this morning got tense. Sanders was asked if he was standing in the way of history continuing to fight Hillary Clinton who has more delegates and more votes and is poised to make history as the first nominee of a major political party who's a woman.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

B. SANDERS: Your question implies that any woman who is running for president is by definition the best candidate - so any woman who runs.

S. SANDERS: Sanders pivoted and said that his priority is winning California tomorrow and ultimately defeating the presumptive GOP nominee.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

B. SANDERS: It is absolutely imperative that we defeat Donald Trump as president of the United - as a candidate a candidate for president of the United States. I believe I am the stronger candidate.

S. SANDERS: There were more questions. How long can he stay in the race when his chances at getting the numbers he needs are so low? What if he loses California, and what about the superdelegates? Sanders hedged a bit on all of this.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

B. SANDERS: I really hesitate, as you all know, to be engaged in speculation. First of all, you're asking me to speculate. Well, again, we're speculating before what is in fact the most important primary tomorrow.

S. SANDERS: Bernie Sanders was clear on one thing. He said he would keep campaigning after California and Washington, D.C. D.C. holds the final Democratic primary June 14. Sam Sanders, NPR News, Emeryville, Calif. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sam Sanders
Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a "deep dive" interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week's news.

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