Wrapping up a weekend swing up and down eastern Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Sunday addressed a big crowd of more than 1,125 supporters at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
The senator was surrounded by placards and signs with a new campaign slogan – ‘A Future to Believe In.’ Speaking of the future, an Iowa poll last week found Sanders leading in the Hawkeye State by 20 points among voters under 45 years old.
Drawing bigger and more enthusiastic crowds than other candidates in Iowa, Sanders told the students and others that his White House bid was dismissed by pundits when it began a little more than seven months ago as “a fringe campaign. Not a serious campaign.” He remembered that “when we began we had no money, we had no organization and the truth is, in Iowa and in much of the country, very few people knew who I was or what I stood for.” Sanders has spoken to more than 28,000 people in Iowa since his campaign started.
Now, there is growing momentum behind the grassroots movement supporting his campaign.
“We have come a long way in seven months,” Sanders said.
Sanders began his Sunday in Waterloo, Iowa, where he attended services at Mount Carmel Baptist Church. He was welcomed by the Rev. Frantz Whitfield, the pastor and former Hillary Clinton supporter who now backs Bernie.
Sanders also stopped at his Waterloo campaign office where he told about 75 volunteers that polls show him leading in New Hampshire and only “a little behind” in Iowa. “With your help, we are closing the gap,” Sanders said.
Before the big rally in Mount Vernon, Sanders met in a college conference room with a group of about 20 military veterans and their relatives. He talked about his tenure as chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. He used that post to work with Sen. John McCain and others to pass a $16 billion bill to improve health care for veterans. “When people put their lives on the line to defend their country, I believe we have a moral responsibility to help them get the best health care,” Sanders said.