Bernie Sanders Skirts Question About a Second Presidential Bid on 'Real Time With Bill Maher'

Bernie Sanders

"Four years is a long time off from now," the Vermont senator told host Bill Maher.

Senator Bernie Sanders seemingly dismissed the idea of running for president next election cycle when he appeared (via satellite) on the season 14 premiere of Real Time With Bill Maher, which aired Friday.

The Vermont senator had given a rousing speech in support of once-rival and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention just days prior.

When host Bill Maher told Sanders that he was perfectly capable of a second presidential bid, Sanders said, "I mean, thank you very much, but four years is a long time off from now." 

He told the studio audience that though a presidency may not be in his near future, he intends to run for re-election for the Senate when his term in Vermont ends in two years.

"Whatever my political future may or may not be, I will be fighting as hard as I can to stand up for a declining middle class to take on the grotesque levels of income and wealth and equality that we are seeing right now, to demand that the United States join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all people as a right, to make public colleges and universities in this country tuition-free," Sanders added. "Those are issues that we've got to continue the fight for."

Sanders also shared his thoughts on the DNC, which concluded Thursday, saying the biggest takeaway was "the understanding that Donald Trump is the most dangerous presidential candidate in the modern history of this country and that he must be defeated."

Sanders admitted that despite disagreements he and Clinton have on a "number of issues," he would fully support her in her new position as president.

"What I intend to do the day after Hillary Clinton is elected president of the United States is to do everything I can to make sure that she goes forward as progressively as she can," he said, "maintaining the very strong Democratic progressive platform that we pass together."

Before Sanders' presidential campaign declined and he endorsed Clinton, Maher penned an essay for The Hollywood Reporter in which he wrote that Sanders was "as real as real gets."

"He is putting on the table something we've never seen before: the idea that America could be more like a Western European democracy, quasi-socialist (we're that already, of course, with Social Security, Medicare and farm subsidies) where you pay more in taxes, but you get more: free health care and free college," Maher wrote.

Former congressman Barney Frank, Alex Wagner, Matt Welch and Dr. Cornel West also were guests on Friday's premiere episode of Real Time.

Watch Maher's full interview with Sanders below. 

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