Sanders calls notion he should quit Democratic race 'absurd'

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WASHINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) - 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.

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.

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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. 

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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". 

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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."

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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. 

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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. 

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Justin Long 

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

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Sarah Silverman 

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

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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. 

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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.”

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"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.

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.

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