Bernie Sanders has been speaking at a variety of events across the country, and in the process of delivering a much-needed political speech, he touched on one of the most controversial issues of our time: the influence of money in politics.
The Vermont senator spoke at a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, which drew an estimated 3,000 people, but the crowd was also filled with members of his own party.
The Vermont senator told supporters that “I want to be the candidate of hope and change,” and he was joined by a growing number of Democrats, many of whom had been skeptical about O’Meara’s chances in the primary.
“I will run for president for the first time as a Democrat because I think I can change this country,” Sanders said to the cheering crowd, and many in the crowd nodded in agreement.
As he made his way through the crowd, the Vermont senator made a point of mentioning how he has faced criticism for his political inexperience and lack of experience running for office.
“The truth is, I’m not running to run for office,” he said.
“You can tell me what I should do, and you can tell you what I’m going to do, but you cannot tell me I’m never going to run again.”
After a brief introduction, Sanders went on to address the issues at hand.
“We are going to have to do what’s necessary to address this problem,” Sanders declared.
“Because if we don’t, there will be a lot of problems.”
“We have got to put people back to work, we have got more people in the workforce than we can ever imagine,” he added.
“And I will say this: I have never run for public office.
He went on, “I know a lot about running for public offices.
I’ve been in public office before.”
Sanders’ speech at the rally, which was streamed live on his campaign website, included several moments of awkwardness and awkward phrasing that came from the audience.
He was asked by a reporter to address a question about whether he would support the Keystone XL pipeline if it was built, and he initially said that he would not.
When the reporter asked him again, Sanders said that “the answer is no.”
Then, the reporter pressed Sanders on whether he supported a “public option” to help consumers buy health insurance, a move that Sanders has criticized as a way to privatize the healthcare system.
“Absolutely,” Sanders responded.
The question was posed to him again after the next question was asked, and Sanders again refused to answer the question.
The rally was also followed by a discussion of the economy and the future.
Sanders made a number of vague statements about the economy during the speech, which seemed to contradict his repeated statements that he is in favor of a strong middle class.
He talked about “an economy of opportunity” and said that if “we want a strong economy, we’re going to need a strong labor market.”
While Sanders has not made a formal endorsement for any candidate, his comments during the rally have been widely interpreted as him saying he is open to a run for the presidency, although there has been no official announcement by the Sanders campaign.