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Bernie Sanders ends 2020 presidential campaign

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(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING:

"I am announcing the suspension of my campaign..."

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders ended his bid for the White House on Wednesday.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING:

"... it has been a very difficult and painful decision."

A onetime front-runner who once again came up short against a moderate opponent in the race for the Democratic nomination, Sanders delivered the news in a livestreamed speech to his supporters from Vermont, where he has been staying at home in Burlington.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING:

"I know that there may be some in our movement who disagree with this decision, who would like us to fight on to the last ballot cast at the Democratic convention. I understand that position, but as I see the crisis gripping the nation, exacerbated by a president unwilling or unable to provide any kind of credible leadership and the work that needs to be done to protect people in this most desperate hour, I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour."

The announcement makes former Vice President Joe Biden the presumptive nominee to face President Donald Trump in November.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING:

"I congratulate Joe Biden, a very decent man... "

And while Sanders promised to work with the former vice president to defeat Trump, the progressive, democratic socialist said his name will remain on the ballot in upcoming nominating contests... to nudge Biden’s policy positions more to the left.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING:

"While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions. Then together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history."

Trump, who has courted Sanders supporters and said the senator was treated unfairly by the Democratic Party, reacted quickly on Twitter, saying: "This ended just like the Democrats & the DNC wanted, same as the Crooked Hillary fiasco. The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!"

Biden also responded on Twitter, calling Sanders a good man and a great leader. And, in a statement, reached out to supporters of Sanders and promised his ideas would be incorporated into his White House run.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING:

"It was not long ago that people thought these ideas were radical and fringe."

Many policy positions held by Sanders have become part of the mainstream Democratic Party debate. And, on Wednesday, he pushed his progressive agenda and brought attention to his Medicare for All proposal.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING:

This current, horrific crisis that we are now in has exposed for all to see how absurd our current employer-based health insurance system is. [FLASH] Please stay in this fight with me. Let us go forward together. The struggle continues. Thank you all very much."

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