U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, essentially ending his candidacy for the Democratic nomination.
"She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States," Sanders said during a campaign rally in New Hampshire. "I have come here to make it as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton and why she must become our next president."
The long-awaited Sanders endorsement comes after much negotiation between the candidates' campaign managers.
While Clinton has moved toward Sanders' platform on college education, proposing to waive in-state tuition costs to students coming from families that earn less than $125,000 annually, Sanders did not get his way on adding opposition language to the party's platform when it comes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Sanders vehemently opposes the 12-nation trade agreement, while Clinton, who has since walked back her support of the proposed deal, previously called the TPP "the gold standard in trade agreements."
Clinton did, however, give in to Sanders on adopting a $15 minimum wage and public option for the Affordable Care Act.
"Together, we have begun a political revolution to transform America and that revolution continues," Sanders said during his 30-minute endorsement speech. "Together, we continue the fight to create a government which represents all of us, and not just the one percent - a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice."
"This campaign is about the needs of the American people and addressing the very serious crises that we face," he added. "And there is no doubt in my mind that, as we head into November, Hillary Clinton is far and away the best candidate to do that."
Progressive political organizations are following Sanders in throwing their support behind Clinton, including MoveOn.org, which endorsed the Vermont senator during the primary.
"Today we are all united in one goal: supporting Hillary Clinton's campaign to defeat Donald Trump and making sure the country loudly and clearly rejects his hate-filled campaign and his dangerous policies," MoveOn.Org Political Action Executive Director Ilya Sheyman said in a statement. "We're better positioned than ever to do just that, thanks in part to the recently adopted progressive Democratic Platform and the vigorous primary campaign marked by the energy and enthusiasm of millions of new, and young, voters."
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), which did not make an endorsement during the primary, encouraged Sanders supporters to back Clinton, echoing MoveOn's sentiment about the party's platform.
"With the Democratic Party on track to ratify the most progressive platform in recent history, and Clinton continuing to campaign on progressive ideas, Sanders supporters can feel good that they helped to transform the future of the Democratic Party and America."
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign blasted Sanders for throwing his support behind Clinton on Tuesday.
"Bernie's endorsement becomes Exhibit A in our rigged system -- the Democrat Party is disenfranchising its voters to benefit the select and privileged few," presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, said in a statement.
Trump himself got on social media to chastise Sanders for the endorsement.
"Bernie Sanders endorsing Crooked Hillary Clinton is like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs," the businessman-turned-politican wrote on Twitter after the rally ended.
For her part, Clinton voiced relief about the contentious Democratic race coming to an end.
"I have to say it is such a great privilege to be here with Senator Sanders," Clinton said. "Being here with him in New Hampshire, I can't help but reflect how much more enjoyable this election is going to be now that we are on the same side. Because, you know what, we are stronger together."
Clinton also paid homage to the life Sanders' campaign breathed into the Democratic base.
"He has energized and inspired a generation of young people who care deeply about our country and are building a movement that is bigger than one candidate or one campaign," she said.
Clinton also thanked Sanders for his service as a long-time senator and advocate for equality: "Thank you for your endorsement, but more than that, thank you for your lifetime of fighting injustice."
Image: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik