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Bernie Sanders puts political revolution question to NH crowd i

On the last full day of campaigning before New Hampshire voters go to the polls,  Bernie Sanders delivered an inspiration message to a crowd of mostly young college students at Daniel Webster College in Nashua.

“Tomorrow the eyes of the country and a lot of the world will be right here in New Hampshire, and what people will guess is not just who wins, but whether the people of New Hampshire are prepared to lead this country in a political revolution,” he said in his final remarks. “Whether the people of New Hampshire are prepared to stand up to the billionaire class. That’s what tomorrow’s election is all about, and I’m here to ask for your support in making that political revolution!”

Trying to stop that revolution from happening are Hillary Clinton supporters. Some of them were industrious enough to place 8-by-11-inch fliers highlighting recent PolitiFact findings on the windshields of cars in the parking lot. The sheet referred to two recent PolitiFact findings that ruled that that Sanders had produced an ad that falsely stated that he had been endorsed by local newspaper based in Nashua.

Sanders avoided any discussion about his Democratic Party challenger in his speech, instead sticking to his familiar course of discussing what he calls “the rigged economy” in the U.S.

The Vermont senator frequently stopped his energetic 40-minute speech to ask questions of the audience to emphasize a particular point. When discussing his plan for to make public colleges and universities tuition-free, Sanders asked, “Anybody else with student debt?”

Several people began shouting out numbers until he stopped them after one woman said she was $100,000 in debt.

“I’m sorry, she wins,” he said. “I’m not sure what you win.”

Sanders dismissed critics who contend such a plan would be far too expensive to implement, saying he would impose a tax on all Wall Street speculations to pay for it.

Last week the Labor Department reported that unemployment in the U.S. is at 4.9 percent, the lowest since 2008. Sanders said that if those who’ve stopped looking for work were counted, the jobless rate would be double. He said his remedy will be a “massive federal jobs program,” including hiring more teachers and investing in infrastructure projects.

Sanders urged the audience to believe in something bigger than themselves. He said that real change never takes place from the top down but from the bottom up, and he referred to the civil rights movement and the movement for same sex marriage as examples to emulate.

Not everyone in the audience was 100 percent behind Sanders. Some New Hampshire voters are known to wait until the last hour at times before making their decision.

Nick Stevenson, a student at Daniel Webster College, said he had been thinking about voting for either Sanders or Rand Paul, but with Paul now out of the GOP contest, says he’s leaning strongly towards Bernie.

“He’s been saying the exact same thing for 30-40 years or however long it’s been now, and it just speaks to me on an ideological level,” Stevenson said. “I really appreciate him. “

Brian Campbell, another Daniel Webster student who is registered to vote in Connecticut, said Sanders is the best of all the candidates who he believes is running on both sides of the aisle. And he’s one voter who appreciates Sanders’ record on gun control issues, a stance that has found him criticized on the left.

“In a small town, people hunt. That’s our way of life, you hunt for food,” Campbell said. “Do we need assault rifles for that? No. But we need a high-powered gun to bring down a deer. It’s not shooting a squirrel.”

Joseph Shields, 64, from Warrick, New York, said he had doubts last year that Sanders could be competitive in the race for president, but not any longer.

“Once that money started rolling in, things changed,” he said, referring Sanders’ January fundraising total topped Clinton’s ($20 million for Sanders to $15 million for Clinton).

Shields supported Ron Paul in 2008, and said the establishment wing of the Democratic Party has treated Sanders with as much disdain as the GOP treated Paul during his run for the White House in 2007-2008.

Sanders wants to change current campaign finance regulations, and said American democracy works when working people stand up and say that the government “belongs to all of us, and not just wealthy campaign contributors.”

“When we do that there is nothing, nothing, nothing that we cannot accomplish,” he said. “That is what this campaign is all about.”

Sanders had two other campaign events on Monday, including a final stop at 6 p.m. at the University of New Hampshire at Durham.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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