CNN hosts town halls with Sanders, Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Patrick

By Jessica Estepa, CNN

Updated 12:04 a.m. ET, February 7, 2020
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9:18 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Sanders: My political journey has been 'incomprehensible'

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Bernie Sanders, as a young man he said, would have never believed that he would be standing on this stage in Manchester tonight as a former mayor, Senator and two-time presidential candidate.

"If my parents were alive today, they both died young, it would have been incomprehensible to them – incomprehensible – that their son, coming from where we came from (would) become a US Senator or mayor, from Burlington, or candidate for President of the United States," the 78-year-old Sanders said.

"It would have been unthinkable."

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8:59 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Sanders: ‘In many ways, Donald Trump is a socialist himself’ 

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Bernie Sanders said he’d respond to attacks on him as a socialist in a general election match-up with President Donald Trump by calling Trump a socialist. 

“In many ways, Donald Trump is a socialist himself. He is a socialist who believes in massive help for large corporations and the rich,” Sanders said in a CNN town hall. 

He said as a real estate developer, Trump received “$800 million in tax breaks and subsidies to build luxury condominiums. That’s called socialism for the very, very rich.” 

“When we give tax breaks and subsidies to the fossil fuel industry to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars so they can produce a product which is destroying the planet, this is called socialism for large corporations, corporate socialism,” Sanders said. 

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9:28 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Sanders doesn't commit to naming woman or person of color as running mate

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

CNN
CNN

Bernie Sanders on Wednesday did not commit to choosing a woman or person of color as his running mate, but said his "inclination is to say yes" when asked if he would.

An undecided voter named Janine asked Sanders at the CNN town hall, “Will you name a running mate before the convention? And will it be a woman? Because why not? I'm not available, though.”

“I was just going to ask you, Janine. I figure that's one way to get your vote,” Sanders joked. 

The senator went on to say, “What I want from a vice president is somebody whose worldview is similar to mine, and there are a lot of, you know, brilliant women out there who hold that view. So we will be looking at that.”

Sanders said if elected president, his administration and Cabinet would, “look more like America in terms of gender equality, in terms of racial equality than any administration in American history.” The senator said he is proud that his campaign is “enormously diverse.”

Pressed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper on whether he could commit to naming a woman or person of color as his running mate, Sanders said, “I don't want to commit, but, you know, my inclination is to say yes."

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9:00 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Sanders: "Take to the bank" that I will support the Democratic nominee

From CNN's Dan Merica

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Bernie Sanders responded to the concerns of a voter who said she saw the division between him and Hillary Clinton in 2016 by saying voters can “take to the bank” the fact he will help the Democratic nominee in 2020.

The New Hampshire voter said that she was in the room in Durham, New Hampshire, in 2016 when Sanders backed Clinton.

“It was a really exciting day, but there was division in the room, and I worried that day,” She said. “I worry now that this race will become more contentious as we head towards the convention.”

Sanders talked up his relationship with his 2020 competitors, especially the senators, and then said, “All of us understand what a threat Donald Trump is to our country and to the world, and I think I can speak for all of the candidates in saying that no matter who wins the nomination, needless to say, I hope it's me, but no matter who wins the nomination, we're all going to work together to defeat Donald Trump.”

Sanders added: “That I think you can take to the bank.”

Sanders’ role in the 2016 election has become more of a focus in recent months because Clinton has told multiple interviewers that she believes Sanders not ending his campaign for months hurt her.

Sanders and his team have pushed back by noting that he worked hard for Clinton once he endorsed her.

But concerns remain about how forcefully Sanders supporters will be if the Vermont senator loses the Democratic nomination.

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8:47 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Sanders says he's 'tired of commenting on Trump's remarks'

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8:45 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Sanders ties his politics to his Jewish experience

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Four years ago, Bernie Sanders rarely spoke about his Jewish faith and how it affected his politics.

That has changed in the 2020 campaign, so when he was asked about it tonight, he spoke at some length about its impact on his life.

"When I try to think about how I came to the views that I hold, there are two major factors," Sanders said. "No. 1, I grew up in a family that didn’t have a whole lot of money. … The second one is being Jewish."

He then recalled his youth in Brooklyn, New York, in a Jewish community that became home to many European Holocaust survivors.

"In the community that I lived in you go downtown, shop, and people had the tattoos from the concentration camps on their arms," Sanders recalled.

"I remember, as a kid, looking at these big picture books of World War II and tears would roll down my cheeks when I saw what happened to the Jewish people. Six million people were killed by Hitler," Sanders said. "I think at a very early age, before my political thoughts were developed, I was aware of the horrible things that human beings can do to other people in the name of racism or white nationalism, in this case Nazism."

After telling the story of his family's return visit to its old hometown in Poland a few years ago, Sanders said those memories, and an understanding of what happened to the Jewish people who lived there, drives his opposition to the current administration.

“That," he said, "is why I will do everything I can to end the kind of divisiveness that Trump is fomenting in this country.”

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8:28 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Sanders: I’ll look at compromising with Republicans on health care "case by case"

From CNN's Dan Merica

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Bernie Sanders said he – as president – would take the idea of compromising with Republicans on health care on a “case-by-case” basis, arguing that he could convince the American public to join him.

Sanders’ ability to move the American people is central to many of his policy pitches. And Sanders critics often raise questions about how the Vermont senator would actually pass the sweeping changes he proposes.

“Are there compromises you're willing to make with Republicans to get close to what you want,” CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Sanders.

“You got to look at it at a case by case moment,” Sanders said. “I think, for example, you go to Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, which is a state where a lot of people are struggling, and you” make the case directly to them.
"My guess is 70 to 80% of the people" will end up supporting his plans, he said.

“My job as president is to rally the people and tell their senators to support it. I think we can do that,” Sanders said.

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8:26 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Sanders on health care: ‘I can’t do it alone’  

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Bernie Sanders responded to former Joe Biden’s attacks on the political feasibility of his “Medicare for All” plan, saying his policy objectives require involving “millions of people in the political process.” 

“I admit, it is a different type of campaign, because I’m not here to tell you vote for me, I’m going to do all these great things. Ain’t gonna happen that way. Never happens that way,” Sanders said. 

“That’s why we call our campaign us, not me,” he said. “Because I’m not going to tell you I can do it alone. I can’t do it alone. We need to all stand up to take on the power of the health care industry.” 

Biden has sharpened his attacks on Sanders’ health care proposal in recent days as he campaigns in New Hampshire. 

“People need hope now,” the former vice president said Tuesday in Nashua. “So we want real progressive change in health care. Real change, not just talk. And I’m the only one in this race who’s ever gotten a big health care reform bill through the Congress. It’s called Obamacare.” 

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8:14 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Bernie Sanders: Enough of Iowa

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Edward M. PioRoda/
Edward M. PioRoda/

Bernie Sanders is over Iowa.

After a protracted, incomplete count of the caucuses has left Sanders and Pete Buttigieg in a virtual tie for the lead, Sanders balked at the prospect of a recanvass of the vote in the state's caucuses.

"We've got enough of Iowa," he said to laughter. "Move on to New Hampshire."

Sanders said the process "distressed" him and called it "sad" that the Iowa Democratic Party, as he put it, "screwed up the counting process quite so badly."

The Vermont senator added that, in the end, he expected to share the lead in DNC delegates with Buttigieg.

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