While speaking at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles this morning, Clinton appeared to come just shy of flat-out telling the Vermont senator -- who has vowed to stay in the race through the convention in July -- it’s time for him to bow out. (If not that, though, she at the very least made the argument for why she believes he should strongly consider it.)
"But I knew that he had won,” she continued, “Because it matters how many delegates you have, whether it’s 60 or 300, right?”
Eight years ago, Clinton dropped out of the primary race on June 7, 2008, when, according to delegate counts at the time by several major news organizations, Obama was ahead of Clinton by roughly 124 pledged delegates. The two contenders were, as Clinton said today, neck and neck in the popular vote, according to a Real Clear Politics count that showed Obama at 48.1 percent and Clinton at 48 percent.
Clinton’s decision to stay in the race for as long as she did then has made it tricky for her to call on Sanders to drop out now.
Earlier this week, Clinton said in an interview on MSNBC that Sanders “has every right to finish out this primary season.” And last month, she told reporters when asked if she understands why her opponent would want to stay in the race, "It’s up to everyone to decide how long they stay in and if we go to the end ... just as I did in ’08.”
Her comments today, however, were some of the farthest she’s gone in suggesting her opponent should consider dropping out.
"I withdrew, I endorsed [Obama], I campaigned with him, I nominated him at the convention, I went to the floor of the convention and moved that he be nominated by acclamation. Because I knew this: That whatever differences we might’ve had in the campaign, they were nothing compared to the difference between us and the Republicans,” she said, making an argument about party unity. “Now if that was true in ’08, that is true on steroids today, right?”
Clinton is setting her sights on the general election by planning travel to battleground states, where her campaign is already staffing up, and focusing on ways to take down Trump.
Sanders, meanwhile, is powering on. He plans to campaign in California and has said to expect a contested convention in July.
ABC News' Paola Chavez and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.