Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigning Saturday in Rochester, N.H.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) kept up his criticism of former mayor Pete Buttigieg’s fundraising practices on Saturday, characterizing him as beholden to wealthy donors and special interests.
“Billionaires by the dozen are contributing to Pete Buttigieg,” Sanders told supporters at a canvassing launch in Dover, N.H. “Now, I like Pete. He’s a smart guy and he’s a nice guy. But if you are serious about political change in America, that change is not going to be coming from somebody who gets a lot of money from the CEOs of the pharmaceutical industry.”
Sanders’ newfound focus on Buttigieg follows a surprisingly strong finish in Iowa by the former mayor of South Bend, Ind. In recent days, Buttigieg has been approaching Sanders in some polls of New Hampshire.
As the senator traveled the Granite State on Saturday, he alluded to the former mayor at nearly every campaign stop, contrasting Buttigieg’s fundraising practices with his own.
“While some of our opponents have dozens and dozens of billionaires contributing to their campaign, we are relying on the working people of this country,” he said at a canvassing launch in Concord. “And at the end of the day, that is precisely why we are going to win.” He added, “I don’t have a PhD in mathematics, but the last I heard, 99 percent is a hell of a lot larger than 1 percent.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigning Saturday in Concord, N.H.
Speaking to a crowd of 1,100 at the Rochester Opera House, Sanders asked his audience why so many people can’t afford health insurance or college, why so many people are incarcerated and why the nation has done so little to stop climate change.
“We’ve gotta ask ourselves why — and that takes us back to who controls this country, who owns this country, the power structure of this country,” he said. “You don’t hear that discussion when people are bought and sold by wealthy campaign contributors, because that is an essential part of the problem.”
As she introduced him in Rochester, Sanders campaign cochair Nina Turner took it a step further, referring to Buttigieg’s infamous fundraiser in a Napa Valley wine cave.
“We gonna ask the question: Whose side are you on? We got a candidate who takes zero dollars from billionaires,” Turner said. “We got a candidate who doesn’t have fundraisers in wine caves with Swarovski crystals … We got a candidate who never stopped believing in Medicare-for-all, never took money from special interests who dictate what side you are on.”
Danielle Goyette, a 29-year-old teacher from Hampstead, said at the Rochester event that Sanders’ reliance on small-dollar donations made him more trustworthy. “He takes money from the average person, so he doesn’t have to feel obligated to stand up for big companies, because he’s not bought by them,” she said.
As for Sander’s competitors? “They’re all owned,” Goyette said. “I just can’t do Pete.”
Late in the day, Sanders addressed a capacity crowd at Big Kahunas restaurant in Merrimack. A few minutes into his remarks, a campaign staffer handed him a piece of paper. “I’m being told by the fire marshal that we have too many people,” he said. “In respect to that, I’m going to be brief."
Sanders continued to outline his plans to address criminal justice, immigration, gun control, veterans’ health and abortion. He also made time to mention his opponents. “I’m not going to attack them. I know them all. They’re good people,” he said. “We do not raise campaign contributions from dozens of billionaires. We do not raise contributions from CEOs of drug companies.”
Finally, Sanders wrapped it up. “Before the fire marshal gets very, very nervous because we have too many people in the room, let me thank you,” he said, imploring his supporters to help him take New Hampshire. “We’re gonna win the nomination and together we will transform this country.”