Democrats close to Clinton and the man who could become a top surrogate — President Barack Obama — insist they won’t pressure the Vermont senator to leave. That reluctance is based on fear inside the Democratic establishment that such a move would make it more difficult to unite the party later this year.
Clinton needs the excited supporters that have rallied around Sanders and hopes treating the senator’s campaign respectfully will make them more likely to back her against Trump. Clinton has already started to make overtures to Sanders’ supporters — pledging to support them even if they don’t support her — and campaign aides have said those will continue in the coming weeks.
Clinton on Wednesday told CNN’s Anderson Cooper said she isn’t pushing Sanders to hurry up.
“I’m not calling myself that (the presumptive nominee),” Clinton said. “I know there are some contests ahead and I respect Sen. Sanders and whatever choices he’s making. And I have a lot of empathy about this, Anderson. You know, I ran to the very end in 2008.”
Obama’s White House agrees there’s no rush.
“The key here is unifying the party,” said one Democrat familiar with the White House’s thinking. “So with that in mind, we are being careful to let the process play through and provide the space for there to be a unifying moment for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.”