Bernie Sanders Brushes Off Obama's Reported Suggestion That He Drop Out

AP

Bernie Sanders has a message for Democrats who think it's time to unify behind presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton: He's not going anywhere.

Among those Democrats is reportedly President Barack Obama, whom attendees at a recent fundraiser described as anxious to see the heated Democratic primary process wrap up quickly. 

Appearing on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show on Thursday, Sanders brushed off the president's remarks, casting doubt on the veracity of media reports and vowing to remain in the race at any rate.

Read more: Obama Hints That the Clock Is Running Out for Bernie Sanders' 2016 Campaign

"I don't want to speculate on what he said or what he didn't say. In fact, I've heard there has been some pushback from the White House kind of indicating that he didn't say that," Sanders told Maddow.

Watch Sanders' remarks to Maddow below, starting at the 4:30 mark:

Source: YouTube

Though he needs to win about two-thirds of the remaining delegates to secure the Democratic nod, Sanders said it was premature to halt the primary process.

"The bottom line is that when only half of the American people have participated in the political process, when some of the largest states in this country — people in those states have not yet been able to voice their opinion on who should be the Democratic nominee — I think it's absurd for anybody to suggest that those people not have a right to cast a vote," Sanders said.

The Vermont senator reiterated his intention to fight on through the final nominating contests in June, arguing that a protracted primary would boost Democratic engagement and prove a boon to the party in the general election.

"To suggest that we don't fight this out to the end would be, I think, a very bad mistake," he said. "People want to become engaged in the political process. By having a vigorous primary and caucus process, I think we open up the possibility of having a large voter turnout in November, and that is exactly what we need."

While Sanders' remarks come on the heels of bruising losses in the delegate-rich March 15 primaries, he stands a decent chance of winning most or all of the eight nominating contests set to take place over the next four weeks — wins that would still leave him with a steep climb to the nomination, given Clinton's formidable delegate lead.