One of Hillary Clinton's potential vice-presidential picks just went after Bernie Sanders

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Labor Secretary Tom Perez Downplays Clinton Veep Rumors

Labor Secretary Tom Perez, a top supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, attempted to undermine Sen. Bernie Sanders' appeal here before the candidates' big debate on Thursday night.

Perez has been widely speculated about as a potential vice-presidential pick for Clinton, whom he has endorsed. He attempted to cast Sanders' proposals as pie-in-the-sky ideas.

"We are a nation of dreamers," Perez told Business Insider. "I appreciate the idealistic vision that Sen. Sanders articulates, but we are a nation of dreamers and doers and the folks I talk to who want to adjust their status — they don't want revolutions. They want results."

See some of the other Clinton vice presidential options:

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Hillary Clinton potential running mates, VPs
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One of Hillary Clinton's potential vice-presidential picks just went after Bernie Sanders

Tim Kaine

The junior Democratic Senator from the swing state of Virginia could be a strategic selection for Hillary. Kaine also served as the governor of Virginia from 2006- 2010.

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Elizabeth Warren

The current U.S. Senator from Massachusetts is popular among progressive Democrats, and some even tried to draft her to run for president herself in 2016. 

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sherrod Brown

Insiders believe that the senior U.S. Senator from Ohio could help Clinton increase her popularity with working-class voters, a group she has yet to win in a big way so far in primary contests.  

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cory Booker

The U.S. Senator from New Jersey is both youthful and charismatic and would add racial diversity to a Clinton ticket. 

(Photo by KK Ottesen for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Tom Perez

The current U.S. Secretary of Labor is considered a sleeper pick by many Democrats because he is not well known outside of D.C., but some believe his strength and popularity among union workers and other progressive groups could be an asset to Clinton's ticket. 

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Julian Castro

The former mayor of San Antonio and current U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development has been rumored as a possible running mate for Clinton for months, but in May he said in an interview that the Clinton campaign hasn't talked to him about the role.

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Amy Klobuchar

Insiders confirmed that Clinton is definitely considering a woman as her vice presidential pick, and as U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Klobuchar has a seat Democrats would likely maintain. She's also been described as "by far" the most popular politician in her state. 

 (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Bernie Sanders

The Independent from Vermont has become Hillary Clinton's primary rival for the Democratic nomination, garnering a surprising amount of support. Bringing Sanders onto the ticket could help to unite both sets of supporters who have been split in Democratic primaries.

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Martin O'Malley

A former 2016 rival of Hillary Clinton, and former Maryland governor, Martin O’Malley could help bring some executive experience, along with a slight youthful boost to the ticket.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Tom Vilsack

The Secretary of Agriculture since 2009, Tom Vilsack also served as the governor of Iowa from 1999 to 2007. Vilsack could bring some governing experience along with swing state influence.  

(BELGIUM - Tags: AGRICULTURE POLITICS BUSINESS)

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper delivers his annual State of the State address to lawmakers and guests, inside the state legislature, in Denver, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Hickenlooper called upon Republicans and Democrats to return to an era of civility and compromise in his address to the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democrat-led House. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Evan Bayh 

Evan Bayh could bring a more right leaning brand of politics to the ticket. Bayh previously served as the junior U.S. Senator from Indiana from 1999 to 2011, and also as the 46th Governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997.  

Joe Biden

While the likelihood of him agreeing to take on the veep job again might be low, Biden's popularity among Democrats would likely boost Clinton's chances. 

(Photo credit MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Bill Clinton

Hillary's husband is technically allowed to serve in the job, and some legal experts even think he'd be able to take office if necessary. Unfortunately for the diehard Clinton supporters, a Clinton-Clinton ticket will probably be a dream that never comes true. 

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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While Sanders' campaign has worked hard to woo union workers, the labor secretary also brushed off the notion that his message was resonating with them.

"The overwhelming number of unions have come out for her," Perez said, before listing off a number of them. "SEIU, AFSCME, NEA, teachers, the building trades. CWA and the national nurses union have supported Bernie. So I guess it's kind of 94% to 6%."

He added:

If you look at the performance in the primaries — Iowa, she won union households by 9 or 10%. You look at state after state after state that has done exit polling on union households, Ohio being a good example. She's winning union households pretty consistently because she's speaking to the issues of union households.

Perez also attempted to cast Clinton as a more well-rounded candidate than Sanders.

"I have great respect for Sen. Sanders and the message he's communicating. At the same time, Secretary Clinton is speaking to all the issues — we are not a single-issue country, and she is not a single-issue candidate," he told Business Insider.

Perez is seen as a powerful surrogate for Clinton, whom Sanders often attempts to cast as cozy with Wall Street.

While he is a less high-profile figure than other potential Clinton vice-presidential picks, Perez is widely respected among progressives and union workers.

He emerged as a popular figure in the Obama administration last year after negotiating a tense labor dispute between port workers and management. Workers groups have praised the secretary for supporting boosting wages and advocating for overtime pay.

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