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Bernie Sanders Doesn't Say No to Hypothetical Clinton VP Slot

Sen. Bernie Sanders doesn't rule out running with former Sec. Hillary Clinton when asked if that is a job he would consider.
Bernie Sanders
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks April 9 in New York.AP

Would Bernie Sanders agree to be Hillary Clinton's running mate? He didn't rule it out when asked about it on NBC's "Meet the Press." Sanders told Chuck Todd he's focused on the California primary, but stopped short of refusing the offer should Clinton ask.

"Here we are in California, I'm knocking my brains out to win the Democratic nomination," Sanders said. "What happens afterwards, we will see. But right now, my focus is on winning the nomination."

The Vermont senator called the California primary "the big enchilada." While Sanders admitted winning more pledged delegates than Hillary Clinton is an "uphill fight," California remains an important piece of that puzzle.

Yet the Sanders campaign won't rely on pledged delegates alone to cross the finish line. Sanders will also "make the case to the superdelegates" that he is the stronger candidate to defeat Donald Trump in November.

Superdelegates, according to Sanders, "have got the very grave responsibility to make sure that Trump does not become elected president of the United States."

On the issue of party unity, Sanders repeated that he will "do everything that I can" to ensure Trump is defeated, but he put the onus on Clinton to convince his supporters why they should back her.

"If Secretary Clinton is the nominee, it is her job to reach out to millions of people and make the case as to why she is going to defend working families and the middle [class], provide healthcare for all people, take on Wall Street, deal aggressively with climate change. That is the candidate's job to do."

Sanders also weighed in on the politics surrounding the Clinton email controversy, saying "there is little doubt" Donald Trump and the Republicans will "seize" on the FBI report when it becomes public.

Yet he remains adamant that he does not want to focus on Secretary Clinton's emails, "There's an investigation that is going on. It will play out and we'll see what happens."

Additionally, Sanders dismissed a New York Times report, claiming his supporters are hoping for criminal charges against Clinton following the FBI's report.

"I have a real problem with The New York Times, which from day one, has been trying to be dismissive of our campaign and be very negative about our campaign. You can go out and you can talk to millions of people and you get any response that you want. ... Our campaign is about defeating Secretary Clinton on the real issues."

Finally, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is bubbling up as a potentially controversial issue for the Democratic Party platform committee, with two of Sanders' appointees criticizing Israel's position in the West Bank. They include Cornel West, who called for the platform to bring more attention to "the plight of an occupied people," referring to the Palestinians.

In response, Sanders affirmed his commitment to a "level playing field" on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides of the issue, while criticizing the media for making this "into a great conflict."

"There will be a general recognition by the entire Democratic convention that of course Israel's right to exist in peace and security is not in debate. But on the other hand," he continued, "the Palestinian people's needs must also be respected. ... I think there's going to be broad consensus within the Democratic convention on that issue."