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Sanders waves at a campaign event on Sept. 29 in Plymouth, N.H. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Just before his medical procedure, Bernie Sanders told supporters at a Muslims for Bernie event that whoever the Democratic nominee is, every candidate — including himself if he doesn't come out on top — "will support the winner and do everything that we can" to defeat Donald Trump.

Why it matters: Sanders' statements on the future of the race will get more scrutiny now that he's been sidelined by his procedure. He was hospitalized after the event with a blocked artery, had 2 stents put in and has canceled all events until further notice.

  • Some Democrats have questioned whether Sanders — with his substantial campaign war chest and a loyal base that never quite warmed enough to Hillary Clinton in 2016 — will stay in the race through the Democratic contest even if Elizabeth Warren emerges as the clear preference among liberals.

Details: More than 100 people gathered in Vegas at a local Indian restaurant to hear from Sanders about the state of his 2020 campaign. He took 5 questions on everything from Saudi Arabia to Democrats' ability to unite around the eventual nominee.

  • On Democrats' rallying around their eventual 2020 nominee: "The answer is, and I can speak with absolute certainty, that every candidate up there will support the winner and do everything that we can. And I certainly hope I’m the winner, but we will, I know, we will support each other and we will defeat the worst president and the most dangerous president in American history."
  • On the U.S.-Saudi relationship: "MBS is a murderer. And it’s not only his murder of [Jamal] Khashoggi. He murders many people. He treats women as third class citizens and he runs a regime which is fiercely opposed to Democracy. So this is not a country which should be our ally. We’re going to change our relationship with dictatorships all over the world, and as we move to sustainable energy, we are not going to be needing their oil any longer."
  • On Kashmir: "I was very disturbed by what India did in Kashmir. They broke a long-standing agreement. It is disturbing that the president of the United States has not called them out on that, but I will."
  • On how plans like Medicare for All and free college will be paid for: "The answer is we pay for everything we propose."

Between the lines: He stood behind a podium on a small stage during his remarks, which he usually does during the Q&A, too — but this time he asked his staff for a chair to sit in on stage while attendees asked their questions.

  • He didn't stick around after to chat with supporters, and he said something about having to make some calls before leaving the event.
  • When chatting with people after the senator's remarks, a number of them commented that he appeared more tired than normal, that the event was shorter than anticipated, or that he seemed to be getting older — though most chalked it up to the grind of running a presidential campaign.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that Sanders underwent a medical procedure (not surgery).

Go deeper

56 mins ago - World

China and Russia vaccinate the world — for now

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While the U.S. and Europe focus on vaccinating their own populations, China and Russia are sending millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries around the world.

Why it matters: China's double success in controlling its domestic outbreak and producing several viable vaccines has allowed it to focus on providing doses abroad — an effort that could help to save lives across several continents.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Report: China will dominate AI unless U.S. invests more

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S., which once had a dominant head start in artificial intelligence, now has just a few year's lead on China and risks being overtaken unless government steps in, according to a new report to Congress and the White House.

Why it matters: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who chaired the committee that issued the report, tells Axios that the U.S. risks dire consequences if it fails to both invest in key technologies and fully integrate AI into the military.

Americans agree about more issues than they realize

Data: Populace Inc.; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Many Americans assume the rest of the country doesn't share their political and policy priorities — but they're often wrong, according to new polling by Populace, first seen by Axios.

Why it matters: The polling reveals that despite growing political polarization, Americans share similar long-term goals and priorities for the country.