Sanders calls notion he should quit Democratic race 'absurd'

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Bernie Sanders Will Not Quit His Campaign

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, responding to reports President Barack Obama called on Democrats to rally around Hillary Clinton as the likely nominee, said on Thursday it was "absurd" to suggest he drop out of the race.

Obama privately told a group of Democratic donors last Friday that Sanders was nearing the point at which his campaign against Clinton would end, and that the party must soon come together to back her, the New York Times reported.

SEE ALSO: Obama reportedly predicts the demise of 1 Democrat

Sanders, a Vermont senator and self-proclaimed democratic socialist, while saying he did not want to comment directly on Obama's reported remarks, pushed back on the idea that his campaign had run its course and he should throw in the towel.

"The bottom line is that when only half of the American people have participated in the political process ... I think it is absurd for anybody to suggest that those people not have a right to cast a vote," Sanders told MSNBC in an interview.

See photos of Bernie Sanders supporters:

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Bernie Sanders supporters
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Sanders calls notion he should quit Democratic race 'absurd'
A supporter sports a t-shirt with a montage of photographs of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, during a mock caucus at Drips coffee shop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Hoping to persuade undecided Democrats with just a week until the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders took on some of the questions that have most dogged their candidacies, from trustworthiness and e-mails to feasibility and socialism. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ben Cohen, left, and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings Inc., talk to supporters during a mock caucus at Drips coffee shop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Hoping to persuade undecided Democrats with just a week until the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders took on some of the questions that have most dogged their candidacies, from trustworthiness and e-mails to feasibility and socialism. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Audience members look on as Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a stop at the United Steelworkers Local 310L union hall, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Max Knauer, of Des Moines, Iowa, waits for Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to speak at a stop at the United Steelworkers Local 310L union hall, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Kenny Jackson of Pleasantville, Iowa listens as Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a stop at the United Steelworkers Local 310L union hall, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
A Muslim woman holds a sign for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at a campaign event on the campus of University of Northern Iowa Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A man listens to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with a sticker on his hand at a campaign event Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Independence, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A woman wears a shirt supporting Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at a campaign event on the campus of Upper Iowa University Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Fayette, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A supporter of Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders listens during a campaign event at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, January 24, 2016, ahead of the Iowa Caucus. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 22: A supporter of presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., shows off buttons during a campaign rally at Bedford High School in Bedford, N.H., January 22, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 22: Supporters of presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., listen to him speak during a campaign rally at Bedford High School in Bedford, N.H., January 22, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
BIRMINGHAM, AL - JANUARY 18: Cassidy Lamb waves a sign before Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) arrives to a campaign rally at Boutwell Auditorium, January 18, 2016 in Birmingham, Alabama. Sanders spoke to a capacity crowd of around 5,000 supporters. (Photo by Hal Yeager/Getty Images)
A sign supporting Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is propped against the wall next to water fountains at a campaign event, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Maquoketa, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
An attendee holds a sign as Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign stop at Bedford High School, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Bedford. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A supporter walks with a poster depicting Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as Sanders speaks at a town hall at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux City, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Signs lean up against a wall as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks at the Fort Museum Opera House in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Benjamin James Hall Jr. of Bellevue, Neb. wears a shirt in support of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as he speaks at a county meeting at U.M.B.A. Hall in Pottawattamie, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A supporter of Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves a drawing of Sanders's face during a campaign stop, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
MARSHALLTOWN, IA - JANUARY 10: Marc Daniels, of Springfield, Illinois, travels from one campaign event to another selilng what he calls 'Presidential Yarmulkes.' He is wearing a yarmulke printed with the phrase, 'Bernie Sanders 2016,' in Hebrew. Daniels was a guest at a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on January 10, 2016 in Marshalltown, Iowa. Sanders drew an overflow crowd to the 600 person capacity meeting room of the Best Western Regency Inn in Marshalltown. Both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have been making appearances at events across Iowa to build support in advance of the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. (Photo by Charles Ledford/Getty Images)
BURLINGTON, VT - JANUARY 07: A Bernie Sanders supporter holds up a pair of 'Bernie Briefs' in a local bar on January 7, 2016 in Burlington, Vermont. The line to see Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally wrapped around the venue and down multiple streets and multiple groups of protesters were. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - NOVEMBER 14: John Jarecki wears a puppet of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to show his support for the candidate prior to the start of the Democratic presidential debate at Drake University on November 14, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The debate will be the second for the democratic candidates seeking the nomination for president. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A woman wearing a hat with a sign in support of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, stands at a rally ahead of the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. The second Democratic debate, hosted by CBS News, KCCI and the Des Moines Register, is the Democratic National Committees only sanctioned debate in Iowa prior to the states first-in-the-nation caucuses on Feb. 1. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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The White House on Thursday said Obama did not indicate which candidate he preferred in his remarks to the donors.

Clinton, a former secretary of state in the Obama administration, has a large lead in the race for the Democratic nomination and she won all five states that were contested on Tuesday.

Sanders said he will do better in upcoming contests in western states, after losing to Clinton in a number of southeastern states.

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

"A low voter turnout, somebody like a Trump can win. High voter turnout, the Democratic candidate will win," he said, referring to Donald Trump, the front-runner in the race to pick the Republican nominee for the November presidential election.

Click through to see the celebrities who endorse Sanders:

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Celebrities who endorse Bernie Sanders
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Sanders calls notion he should quit Democratic race 'absurd'

Killer Mike of Run the Jewels 

The rapper has been very vocal within the hip-hop community about his endorsement of Sanders, and even introduced him at an Atlanta rally. 

Image via Getty

Danny DeVito 

In August 2015, the 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' actor took to Twitter, saying, "Bernie Sanders...you're our only hope Obi-Wan Kenobi". 

Image via Getty

Mark Ruffalo

Ruffalo used Twitter to share his political stance on January 17th of this year, saying, "@BernieSanders is preferred 2-1 by young people because they know his means what he says."

Image via Getty

Susan Sarandon 

In June of last year, Sarandon posted a video titled 'Flashback: Rep. Bernie Sanders Opposes Iraq War' along with the caption "We need a leader who is courageous and levelheaded in times of crisis:Bernie Sanders ‪#‎Bernie2016‬.

The liberal activist has since been seen campaigning for Sanders in Portland, Maine and introducing him on the campaign trail. 

Image via Getty

Belinda Carlisle

Back in August of last year, the lead singer of The Go-Go's tweeted, "yes, I switched teams...my candidate!" above an announcement that Bernie Sanders would be joining CNN's State of the Union. 

Ever since then she has been an avid supporter on social media. 

Image via Getty

Justin Long 

The 'Dodgeball' actor introduced Bernie Sanders at a campaign event in Des Moines shortly before the Iowa Caucus. 

Image via Getty

Sarah Silverman 

Sarah Silverman was among other celebs who headlined a fundraiser for the presidential candidate at Hollywood’s Laugh Factory on January 26th. 

Image via Getty

George Lopez 

After tweeting "WATCHA I Am #feelingthebern. Today I'm proud to officially endorse @BernieSanders for President" late last year, the actor has made headlining appearances at Sanders' fundraising events. 

Image via Getty 

Spike Lee 

After citing his endorsement on a radio show recently, he elaborated on his commitment to Sanders, saying: “Bernie was at the March on Washington with Dr. King. He was arrested in Chicago for protesting segregation in public schools. He fought for wealth and education equality throughout his whole career. No flipping, no flopping. Enough talk. Time for action.”

Image via Getty

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