Bernie Sanders Responds to Possible Joe Biden Run

The Democratic candidate spoke with ABC News' Jonathan Karl

ByABC News
August 2, 2015, 2:15 PM

— -- Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said he's "very fond" of Vice President Joe Biden, but that "the American people... want to go beyond conventional establishment politics."

Sanders made the statements in response to a question from ABC News' Jonathan Karl about Biden considering another run for president.

Sanders suggested that voters are looking for a change in 2016 . “The government has to respond to the needs of the middle class, not the billionaires,” he said, “I think that’s what going on in this country, and I am not sure conventional politics will do it anymore.”

Sanders is the longest serving independent member Congress, but he is seeking the Democratic nomination for president. The 73-year-old has mobilized an impressive grassroots campaign since announcing his candidacy in May. Last week, more than 100,000 people RSVP’d to attend one of 3,700 events across the country, but his support continues to be concentrated in liberal, urban centers.

Sanders defended his campaign, saying it will be able to expand its support to a wider and more diverse base across the country.

“We have made phenomenal progress in the last three months, and we are going to continue to make that kind of progress,” he said.

“We are going to be reaching out effectively to the African-American community, because I have not only one of the strongest civil rights voting records in the United States Congress, we have an agenda that calls for creating jobs, for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, making public colleges and universities tuition free. That is going to appeal in a significant way, I believe, to the African-American community, to the Hispanic community.” He predicted that three months from now his campaign will have made “significant inroads all across the country.”

As for his primary challenger Hillary Clinton, Sanders refused to answer "yes or no" as to whether he thinks the former secretary of state and Democratic frontrunner is honest and trustworthy.

According to a Quinnipiac poll released last week, 57 percent of registered voters do not think she is trustworthy. “I have a lot of respect for Hillary Clinton,” Sanders said. “I am not going to be engaging in personal attacks against her.”

He did concede, however, that he “had a hard time understanding” her refusal to take a position on the Keystone pipeline this week. Sanders has helped lead the opposition against the project.

Republican contender Donald Trump, however, did take the opportunity to attack Hillary Clinton, adding that Vice President Joe Biden could possibly topple her for the nomination.

“I think she's got a big problem with the emails and obviously her numbers are going down drastically, so somebody like Biden could probably go in and do very well and maybe win," he said.