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Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton qualified after all

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign stop at the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 7, 2016. Credit: AP / Matt Rourke

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday dialed back his claim that rival Hillary Clinton isn’t qualified to be president, saying that “on her worst day she would be an infinitely better president” than Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

Sanders made the remarks on the “Today” show at the outset of a day of campaign stops in New York City — at his alma mater James Madison High School in Midwood, then Greenpoint and Harlem’s Apollo Theater.

The Brooklyn-born Vermont senator had called Clinton’s qualifications for office into question, citing media reports that she was essentially doing the same.

Directly, she has accused him of failing to do his homework on issues and making promises that can’t be kept.

In the TV interview, Sanders acknowledged Clinton indeed is qualified to be president.

Sanders said that after losing six of the last seven caucuses and primaries “the Clinton campaign has changed its tone.” Coming to New York, he knew their campaign “was going to be a lot more negative.”

But Sanders also spoke about his opponent for the Democratic nomination in positive terms.

“Here’s the truth. I’ve known Hillary Clinton for 25 years … on her worst day she would be an infinitely better president than either of the Republican candidates,” he said.

Sanders said he wanted to get away from the crossfire and focus on issues. He said Americans were more concerned about long hours and low wages, rising student debt and national health care. He called the personal attacks “media stuff.”

Sanders seeks to add star power to his New York City tour on Friday.

The James Madison gathering announced for East 26th Street in the Midwood section, starting at 3 p.m., features one of his Hollywood supporters, Mark Ruffalo. A 5 p.m. stop at the WNYC transmitter on Greenpoint Avenue touts Susan Sarandon.

At 6 p.m. begins the Harlem program, billed as “a community conversation” with the candidate.

With Gary Dymski

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