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Story highlights

Joe Biden praised Bernie Sanders for aiming high even if it doesn't work out

"I like the idea of saying, 'We can do much more,' because we can," Biden says of Sanders

(CNN) —  

Vice President Joe Biden has not endorsed a candidate in the 2016 race, but he recently praised Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for thinking big when it comes to how to lead the country.

“I like the idea of saying, ‘We can do much more,’ because we can,” Biden told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday.

Sanders’ critics – most notably surrogates for his primary opponent Hillary Clinton and the candidate, herself – often question how realistic his proposals are, but Biden dismissed that concern.

“I don’t think any Democrat’s ever won saying, ‘We can’t think that big — we ought to really downsize here because it’s not realistic,’” Biden said. “C’mon man, this is the Democratic Party! I’m not part of the party that says, ‘Well, we can’t do it.’”

Biden, who considered entering the race himself, praised Sanders for aiming high even if it doesn’t work out.

“Presidents have always been told by really smart people: ‘Don’t push something that you can’t succeed in — it diminishes your power,’” he said. “I completely disagree with that proposition.”

“Everything I’ve ever cared about — with the exception of the President’s brilliant passage of the Affordable Care Act — takes time,” he added. “The only way to get these big things done is talk about them.”

It’s not the first time Biden has made comments interpreted as boosting Sanders. During a CNN interview with Gloria Borger in January, Biden praised Sanders’ fight on income inequality and said Clinton was “relatively new” to the effort.

Biden ended months of intense speculation about his political future last fall with a sudden announcement that he wouldn’t seek the presidency.

The vice president, who has wanted the top spot for decades, said he regrets “every day” that he didn’t enter the 2016 presidential race – but that his decision was in his family’s best interests.

“I regret it every day, but it was the right decision for my family and for me. And I plan on staying deeply involved,” Biden said in January.