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Bernie Sanders endorses Joe Biden for US President

Announcement came in livestream event held by former vice president

Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who ended his presidential bid April 8, 2020, said on a live stream hosted by former vice president Joe Biden on April 13, 2020 that he was endorsing Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. / AFP / Mandel NGAN
Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who ended his presidential bid April 8, 2020, said on a live stream hosted by former vice president Joe Biden on April 13, 2020 that he was endorsing Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. / AFP / Mandel NGAN

Bernie Sanders has endorsed the Democratic candidate and former vice president Joe Biden for president, a week after the progressive senator ended his campaign.

The announcement on Monday was made in an event Mr Biden streamed live online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Appearing on a split screen and with both campaigns airing the event, the two men joined in a show of unity.

“We need you in the White House,” Mr Sanders told Mr Biden.

The former vice president responded: “I’m going to need you. Not just to win the campaign but to govern."

Mr Biden proposed a student loan forgiveness plan on Thursday, extending an olive branch to Mr Sanders’ supporters.

He said the endorsement meant a "great deal" to him.

Mr Sanders asked Americans to "come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse, to make certain that we defeat somebody who I believe, and I'm speaking just for myself now, is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country".

Mr Sanders said the two campaigns would form a task force to address key policy challenges.

"I look forward to working with you and bringing some great people into those task forces," he said.

With Mr Sanders’ endorsement, Mr Biden has the support of all of his former rivals except for Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is still in talks with him.

But Ms Warren has commended Mr Sanders last week for leaving the race.

Mr Biden now must choose a running mate and has made it clear that he wants a woman in the position.

His campaign has launched a search, with a shortlist reportedly including nine potential vice presidents.

Senators Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar are top contenders, with the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, another possibility.

Ms Warren is another wildcard for the post, and was considered for it when Mr Biden toyed with the idea of running in 2016.

Her progressive background and friendship with Mr Sanders could help to unify the party.

Recent polls show Mr Biden leading US President Donald Trump nationally but reflect a deeply polarised electorate.

The map highlights a tight race that will probably be decided in the Midwestern states of Michigan and Wisconsin on November 3.

Updated: April 13, 2020 11:35 PM

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