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tv   Senator Bernie Sanders Town Hall Meeting in South Carolina  CSPAN  August 21, 2015 7:03pm-9:01pm EDT

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columbia, south carolina. i have the privilege of serving as the national press secretary for bernie 2016. you will be dmc for this evening. is that ok -- i will be your mc for this evening. the man ofing out the hour, i want to chat with you all. america celebrated the 50th anniversary of the voting rights act? the voting rights act was a civil rights moment, landmark legislation. we we are knowledge how far have come. but the supreme court 2013 decision getting the voting rights act was a shameful step backwards. it was. today we know our voting rights, family values, the quality of
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education and a black lives are under attack. we still have work to do. we need people we trust at leading this country to get the work done. am i right? we need new voices that are not afraid to speak truth about the injustices plaguing people of color and the plight of everyday hard-working americans. know theeople who critical civil rights law which protected voters in places with a history of discrimination is as necessary today as it was jim crow era. we need people who understand economic inequality and racial inequality are parallel issues that must be addressed simultaneously. committed toe
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reforming the juvenile justice and criminal justice system so we are not locking up all generations of people. ending theinstead disgrace that is the mass incarceration of african-americans in this country. believe and are working to ensure every single young person in this country receives a shot at a quality affordable education. people like bernie sanders. do thatelieve like i bernie sanders is the candidate for president we need the this country, there are a few things i want to encourage you to do. you have taken the first very important step up by attending this town hall. thank you for being here.
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give yourselves a round of applause. [applause] this passion you feel, this burn, we want you to visit our website. sign up to volunteer. donate to the campaign. the second thing you can do to get involved is you can text to real timegive you updates. the last thing you can do is follow up on twitter. berniesanders on twitter. spreadingally about this message, this multiracial
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revolution, this fight for criminal justice reform. for social justice. economic justice. racial justice. are you ready? are you ready? [applause] >> at this point in time, it is my pleasure and honor to introduce to you the next president of the united states, united states senator bernie sanders. [applause] ♪
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[applause] mr. sanders: thank you. doesn't look like we could squeeze too many more people in this room. thank you to the hundreds of people in the overflow room. [applause] mr. sanders: we began this campaign about 3.5 months ago. when we began this campaign, people were saying bernie sanders, interesting guy but kind of a fringe type candidate. mean no one takes it seriously the idea that it may be, just
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maybe, we need a political revolution in america. [applause] mr. sanders: maybe, just maybe, something is wrong when almost all of the new income is going to the top 1%. [applause] mr. sanders: maybe, just maybe, something is wrong when we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country and more people in jail than any other major country. [applause] mr. sanders: all over the country, in new hampshire and iowa, all over the country, thousands of people started coming out.
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a couple of weeks ago, we were on the west coast and we had 15,000 people in seattle. 28,000 people in portland, oregon. and we had 20,000 people -- 27,000 people in los angeles. it seems to me the ideas we are talking about are not fringe ideas, they are the ideas that the american people support. [applause] mr. sanders: this is a campaign on the move. this is a campaign that is going to win in south carolina and across the country. but the enthusiasm and the excitement for this campaign has
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n't just a launched turnouts. people also understand there is something profoundly wrong when millionaires and billionaires control our political system. [applause] mr. sanders: let me be very clear. i do not represent the billionaires agenda. i do not want their money. we are not going to have any super pac at all. [applause] mr. sanders: we are raising money for this campaign in the old-fashioned way, small 400,000tions from
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americans. average contribution, $31. i'm proud of that. what this campaign is about is bringing people together with the understanding that if we do not allow ourselves to be if we stand together as black and white and hispanic, native american, men and women, straight and gay, nativeborn and --igrant [applause] sanders: if we stand together, they may have all the money and all of the power.
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but we have the people. when people stand together, we win. where ever i go around the country, media, up to me and is, we are surprised, why there so much excitement and enthusiasm? why are you moving up in the polls? let me tie you what my answer is to them. my answer is the american people are sick and tired with establishment politics. [applause] mr. sanders: they are sick and tired with establishment economics. and frankly, they are sick and tired of establishment media. [applause]
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mr. sanders: the people of our understand that neverate greed, this ending greed of needing more and more no matter how much they have, that corporate greed is destroying our economy. [applause] [applause] mr. sanders: and they also understand, and i speak he was the former chairman of the senate veterans committee, the american people understand that
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men and women throughout our history have put their lives on the line and sometimes lost their lives defending democracy and that there is something profoundly wrong when billionaires are buying elections. that is not democracy. [applause] mr. sanders: the american people also understand that at a time when this country faces so many in norma's problems, when we need serious discussion, that much of the corporate media will talk about everything in the world except the most important issues facing working americans. [applause] mr. sanders: let me be as clear
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as i can be. this campaign is not about bernie sanders or hillary clinton. does not about donald trump, jeb bush or anyone else. you, your kids coming your parents, and the future of this country. [applause] bernie, bernie, bernie. sanders: as someone who has run for office a number of times in vermont, i have never run a negative political ad in my life. [applause] mr. sanders: because i believe that what politics and a democracy is about is to take a hard look at the serious problems facing our country and propose ideas and let the
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american people discuss them. absurd foris politicians to say, i am great, i am wonderful, everyone else is terrible. that is wrong. what we need is a serious discussion about the serious issues facing our country and that is what this campaign is about. [applause] mr. sanders: our campaign is different from other campaigns, not only in terms of the fact that it we have the most progressive vision, but more importantly in how we are running this campaign. i believe in let me be honest with you and tell you what no other candidate for president will tell you, that no matter who was elected president of the united states, no matter how good he or she may be, that person cannot address the
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enormous problems facing working families and the middle class because of the power of big money interests in this country. [applause] mr. sanders: that is the truth uncomfortable truth. what i am calling for is not just your support to elect to me as president, i'm asking you to be part of a political revolution. [applause] mr. sanders: a revolution which transforms our country economically, politically, socially, and environmentally. [applause]
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mr. sanders: let me tell you what this political movement is about. [applause] mr. sanders: thank you. i love you, too. [applause] mr. sanders: what this political movement is about is millions of people from coast to coast, standing up and saying loudly is enough., enough this great nation and our us,rnment belong to all of not just to a handful of billionaires. [applause]
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mr. sanders: the truth is, the sad truth, the truth is our country faces more serious problems than at any time in the modern history of our country. and if you throw in the global crisis of climate change, the problems may be worse today. [applause] notsanders: but we are going to solve the problems unless we address those problems. [applause] mr. sanders: let me take this opportunity to talk a little bit
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about some of the major problems facing our country. i started with the issue of income and wealth inequality. know, we some of you live in the wealthiest country in the history of the world to read wealthiest country in the history of the world. most americans don't understand that, don't perceive that, don't feel that because they are too busy working to bank or three or three jobs while the rest are going to the top 1%. [applause] mr. sanders: the truth is the united states today has more income and wealth inequality than any other major industrialized nation on earth.
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caninequality today if you believe it is worse than at any time since 1928. so what is essentially happening in our country, the people at the top are getting richer and richer. everybody else is becoming poor and poor. and poorer. is no great nation can survive economically or few have sowhen so much and so many have so little. [applause] mr. sanders: there is something profoundly wrong and profoundly
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immoral to read by the way, i think it is important we start injecting morality into our political discourse. [applause] mr. sanders: there is something profoundly wrong when the top 1/10 of 1%. owns almost of 1% as much as much wealth as the bottom 90%. there is something profoundly wrong when in recent years we have seen a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires but all over our country, are workingpeople longer hours for lower wages. rated up with the highest of childhood poverty of any major country on earth. there is something profoundly wrong when one family, one
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family, this is america not thirday, not some small world country, when one family, the walton family of walmart, owns more wealth than the bottom 40% of the american people. [applause] mr. sanders: when millions of people are working longer hours for lower wages. when people are working two or three jobs, trying to get some income and health care to take care of their families. when that is going on well a full of billionaires are making out like bandits. this is a rigged economy. [applause]
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together, you and i and millions of other americans are going to change that. we are going to create an economy that works with the middle class and working families, not just a handful of billionaires. [applause] this campaign is sending a simple and straightforward message to the billionaire class. that is you cannot, you will not have it all. [applause] mr. sanders: the ceos of large corporations and billionaire continue not going to
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to get huge tax breaks when children in america go hungry. [applause] mr. sanders: they are not going to continue to send our jobs to and other low-wage countries when millions of americans are in desperate need of work right here. [applause] mr. sanders: corporate america and the billionaire class are not going to hide their many billions in profits by putting cayman islands and other tax havens. they are going to start paying their fair share of taxes. [applause] mr. sanders: whether they like
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it or not, their greed is going to end because we are going to end it for them. [applause] mr. sanders: when we talk about the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality, let me bring it on home to what it means for the people in south carolina. thehe last two years, wealthiest 14 people in america, 14 people, saw their wealth $156 billion. while 14outh carolina, people saw an unbelievable in their wealth, 27% of the children here are living in poverty.
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almost 300,000 children. increased wealth $156 billion. 27% of the kids in south carolina living in poverty. of those children living in poverty, 138,000 are black, 95,000 are white and 34,000 are hispanic. impacts peoplety all across the board. it is a national disgrace. [applause] mr. sanders: here is the reality. let's lay it on the table. billing errors -- billionaires become richer while children in south carolina and all over america lack adequate nutrition. in the year 2015 in south
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carolina, in vermont and throughout america, children are going hungry. it is not acceptable that billionaires become richer when kids in this country are starving. [applause] mr. sanders: if we are a moral moste, we give the vulnerable people in our society. to turn our backs on the
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children while billionaires get richer is not what this country is supposed to be about. [applause] mr. sanders: when we talk about human rights and when we talk about basic needs, let us not forget that we are the only major industrialized country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right. [applause] mr. sanders: now i live in burlington, vermont, an hour away from the canadian border.
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guarantee health care to every people. in the u.k., they guarantee health care to all of their people. germany, france, scandinavia does it. every major doe country does it accept us and that is why i strongly believe in a medicare for all. [applause] mr. sanders: i believe in single payment but that is not what congress believes in, but the congress did pass, and the president did find, the affordable care act. a modest but important step forward.
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by expanding eligibility for medicaid, millions of americans now have health insurance who previously lacked it. that is a good thing. [applause] the affordable care act, for example, has cut arkansas' uninsured population almost in half. it has reduced the number of an uninsured in kentucky from 20% to 12%. in south carolina, in south carolina, over 200,000 people would gain health insurance if the governor and legislature approved the expansion. [applause]
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mr. sanders: not only would several hundred thousand people gain health insurance, the state would create tens of thousands of decent paying jobs. [applause] mr. sanders: and the federal government picks up almost all of the bill. pretty good deal. [applause] it isnders: in my view, terribly wrong to allow a rigid, right-wing, political ideology to stand in the way of health care for hundreds of thousands of south carolinians. [applause]
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mr. sanders: it is wrong to allow hundreds of people in your beautiful state to die unnecessarily because they cannot go to a doctor when they should. it is wrong and immoral to have a situation where people will suffer and become much sicker than they otherwise would have been because they don't have medicaid. that is wrong. [applause] mr. sanders: and i would hope very much that not only here in south carolina, but all across this country, republican governors and legislatures would let go for one minute of the right wing ideology and take care of the people of their state. [applause]
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mr. sanders: i understand that some of these legislatures and governors hate president obama. you can hate president obama, but do not hate the kids and the working families in your state. [applause] mr. sanders: the issues we are talking about are not just the ofotesque level income inequality. it is the realities that for the last 40 years the great middle class of our country, once the and the of the world, has been disappearing. the truth is we are much better off economically today than we were when george bush left
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office. [applause] mr. sanders: let us not forget that when bush left office, we were hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs a month. our financial system was on the verge of collapse and we were running up a $1.4 trillion deficit. i find it interesting republicans complain they are only growing 250,000 jobs a month. that is a lot better than losing 800,000 jobs. [applause] mr. sanders: here is the point -- yes, we are better off today than we were when bush left office, but the reality is that millions of americans today are
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working longer hours for lower wages. all of you know there has been an explosion in technology making workers far more productive than they used to be. and yet, many of those workers have seen their real wages go down. since 1999, medium family income today is almost $5,000 less than it was in 1999. that is our reality. we are better off than we were 6.5 years ago but we continue to find and see the disappearance of our middle-class. what we have to do is come up with proposal after proposal that rebuilds the crumbling middle-class in this country and that is what we intend to do. [applause]
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mr. sanders: let me tell you something that very few people will tell you. every month, the u.s. government comes out with thanks. ings. unemployment in america is 5.3%. wrong. that official statistic does not include the people that have given up looking for work and the millions of people working part-time. add that altogether, real unemployment is over 10%. this is really something that we must deal with. we cannot continue to push under the rug. i asked the economic policy institute to do a study on youth unemployment. you know what it is in this country? in terms of kid to have no jobs, or are working part-time when they want to work full-time, what they told us is the kids 17 to 20 who graduated high school, if they were white, youth unemployment is 33%.
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if they were hispanic, youth unemployment is 36%. if they were african-american, youth unemployment is 51%. [booing] mr. sanders: we are turning our backs on an entire generation of young people who want to stand on their own two feet. [applause] mr. sanders: let me tell you something else. one of the great shames in our country, one of the great international embarrassment is we as a nation have more people in jail than any other country. [applause] china, a nation three times larger than us, a communist,
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authoritarian country has fewer people in jail than we do. if anybody here thanks there is not -- thinks there is not a connection between huge rates of youth unemployment and kids that end up in jail, you would be very mistaken. right now, right now, in my state, your state, we are 5.5 million young people who are not in school, who are not working, who are hanging out in street corners and getting into trouble. in my view, it makes a lot more sense for us to be investing in education and in jobs. [applause]
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mr. sanders: it makes more sense to be investing in our young people than in jails and incarceration. [applause] mr. sanders: when we -- when we talk about the economy, it is not just income and wealth inequality and it is not just high rates of unemployment we have to address. it is the simple fact that everybody in this room knows that millions of our people are working at wages that are too damn low. [applause] mr. sanders: the current minimum
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wage at the federal level of $7.25 an hour, $7.25 an hour -- [booing] mr. sanders: -- is a starvation wage. our job is to raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage -- $15 an hour over the next several years. [applause] mr. sanders: it is not a radical idea to say that if somebody works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty. [applause] mr. sanders: when we talk about
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fairness in wages, i hope very much that every man in this room will stand with the women and pay equity for women workers. [applause] mr. sanders: there are too many women in america trying to bring up their families who are making $.78 on the dollar compared to men. hugequity will take a chunk out of poverty in america and we must fight to establish pay equity. [applause] mr. sanders: i think all of you
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know that many of my republican colleagues run around the country and they talk about family values. [laughter] mr. sanders: they just love families. whatyou know, you all know they mean when they talk about family values. what they are saying is women in america should not be able to control their own bodies. i disagree. [applause] mr. sanders: what they are saying in their concept of family values is that women are
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too dumb to be able to buy the contraceptive they need. i disagree. what they are also saying in their understanding of family values is that are gay brothers and sisters should not be able to get married and enjoy all of the benefits of american citizenship. i disagree. [applause] mr. sanders: i am very fortunate to have four kids, seven grandchildren. jane and i have been married for 27 years. [applause] mr. sanders: we believe, we
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believe in family and we believe in strongly protecting the needs of families, but my family values are a little bit different than republican family values. [applause] mr. sanders: when i talk about family values, i believe that the united states must end the international embarrassment of being the only, only major country on earth that does not guarantee workers paid medical and family leave. [applause] mr. sanders: when a woman has a baby today, if she has the income and the financial support, she can stay home and get to love her baby, bond
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with her baby. for those of us who are parents, it is one of the most amazing experiences of being human. [applause] mr. sanders: it is pretty important for the baby as well. [laughter] mr. sanders: that is a family value. it is a family value when mom stays home, nourishes the baby, gets to know her baby and dad is there as well. it is not a family value to tell that mom that just because you don't have money, you have to separate yourself from your baby and go back to work in five days or eight days. that is not a family value. [applause] mr. sanders: and that is why i have supported and will fight for legislation that guarantees
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every family in america 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave. [applause] mr. sanders: that is a family value. if every other major country on earth could do it, the united states of america could do it, too. [applause] we sanders: by the way, remain the only major country on earth that does not guarantee sick time to our workers or paid vacation. that has got to change, too. [applause] with reals: unemployment over 10%, youth unemployment much higher than that, we need on major federal jobs program to put millions of
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people back to work. [applause] mr. sanders: at a time when our infrastructure is crumbling, our roads, our bridges, our water systems, waste water plants, airports, levies, dams -- there is more than a work -- enough work to do. a $1 trillion investment over five years could create over 13 million decent paying jobs. [applause] mr. sanders: but when we talk about -- it is not only the absolute imperative of having to create millions of jobs, it is also the absolute need to
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prevent the loss of more jobs because of our disastrous trade policies. [applause] you are looking at a senator and a former member of the house who voted against pfa, and trade relations with china. [applause] mr. sanders: and you are looking at a senator who will help lead the effort against the transpacific partnership. [applause] mr. sanders: we need, we need trade policies which create jobs in america, not in countries around the world. [applause]
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and when we use words like greed and recklessness and every against and dishonesty -- arrogance and dishonesty, we only have some of the adjectives to describe wall street. all of you know that as a result of the greed and recklessness of wall street, our economy was brought to its knees, millions of people lost their jobs, their houses and their life savings. today, after bailing out wall street because they were too big to fail, three out of the four largest banks are bigger now than they were before we bailed them out. [booing] mr. sanders: in my view -- let me be very clear about this --
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when you have six banks issuing two thirds of the credit cards in this country, 35% of the mortgages in this country, when you have banks that are too big to fail, they are too big to exist. [applause] mr. sanders: we need a financial system which provides affordable loans to small and medium-sized businesses so they can create the jobs we need. we do not need a financial system on wall street which is an island unto itself which is only concerned about profits for a handful of people.
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[applause] i am often asked, well, bernie, which of the issues out there is the most important and it is impossible to answer because all of these issues are enormously important. here is one issue that impacts every other issue and that is five years ago, as you all know, the supreme court by a 5-4 decision in the citizens united -- [booing] mr. sanders: in the citizens united case, what they said to the wealthiest people in the country, they said you guys already own much of the economy. we are now going to allow you to own the united states government and that is exactly what they are trying to do right now. a situation right now
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where one family, the extreme right wing koch brothers. [booing] secondders: this ue wealthiest family in america is prepared to spend $900 million in this election cycle. that is more money than i have will when you have one family spending more money than either of the major political parties, that is not democracy. that is allegarchy. [applause]
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mr. sanders: i have not made many campaign promises, but this is one i have made and will repeat. no nominee of mine to the united states supreme court will get that position unless he or she thatud and clear in saying one of their first orders of business will in fact be re- hear and overturn citizens united. [applause] mr. sanders: i am a passionate believer in democracy. i really believe in democracy. what that means, what that very radical idea means -- only a few hundred years old -- what that
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idea means is that you and people of this country, poor people, old people, anybody has the right to determine and shape the future of our country and not just a king or queen or a handful of billionaires. that is a radical idea that i believe. [applause] mr. sanders: and in my view, not only must we overturn citizens united, we have to go further. i want to see this country have the most vibrant democracy of any country on earth. i want to see us have one of the highest voter turnouts, not one of the lowest voter turnouts. [applause] mr. sanders: i want to see a process in which anybody in this
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room, anybody in america whether you are conservative, progressive, moderate -- if you believe you want to get into public service, you want to run for office, you believe in your ideas, i want to see you be able to run for office without begging money from the wealthy and the powerful. [applause] mr. sanders: a couple of weeks ago in washington, i was at an event with martin luther king iii and people with the southern christian leadership congress. what we talked about at that meeting was to, first of all, anniversarye 50th of the enormously important voting rights act. ok?
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[applause] mr. sanders: what the voting rights act was about was to say the governors and legislatures all over this country, many in the south, will say sorry, all people will be able to vote regardless of the color of their skin. [applause] mr. sanders: that was a great step forward for democracy, but as many of you know, two years ago, the supreme court gutted a very important provision of the voting rights act. what has happened is all over the country, not just to the south, but all over the country, governors and legislatures have done everything possible to suppress the vote, to deny people the right to vote, those
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people disagree with the powers that be. [applause] know, i takeyou that kind of personally and i will tell you why. i have run for office in my own state many times. sometimes i have lost. it had never occurred to me, never, not for one second to say there are parts of the state that are not sympathetic to me, how do i figure out a way to stop those people from voting? if you cannot run for office and defend your ideas, then you should not run for office in the first place. [applause] mr. sanders: people,
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legislatures, governors who try to prevent people from voting because they may vote against a governor or the legislatures are nothing less than political cowards. [applause] have introduced legislation which more or less says that if you are 18 years of age in the united states of america, you are registered to vote, and of discussion -- end of discussion. [applause] mr. sanders: i think all of you know that the world we are living in is a very competitive global economy. and if our nation is going to succeed economically, we need to have the best educated workforce in the world.
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[applause] and what saddens me very much is as we speak here tonight, there are hundreds of thousands of bright, young men and women across this country -- kids web done really well in school. kids were qualified to get into college, but they cannot get into college for one reason -- their families lack the money. to my mind, it is not only unfair to these kids to deny them the right to become doctors or engineers or teachers or whatever else -- not only unfair absurd when it is we talk about the future of the american economy. we need to have the best educated workers in the world. [applause]
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mr. sanders: and that is why i have introduced legislation which does two very important things. publicit says that every college and university in america will be tuition free. [applause] mr. sanders: and i want to tell you why this idea, this simple idea is a revolutionary idea. it is not just that it will make life easier for kids in high school to get to college. but this is what else it will do -- today in columbia, in
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burlington, vermont, they are kids in the fourth and fifth grades. dad did notom and go to college. these are kids who don't know anybody who went to college and the idea of going to college, of making it into the middle class is something beyond their wildest expectations or dreams. but, if we tell every kid in colombia and in burlington, vermont that if you study, if you pay attention to school, if you do your work, you will be able to get a college education. [applause] mr. sanders: it will impact kids from the first grade on up.
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the second thing we have done in a legislation is to address the absurdity of millions of americans, some young, some not so young, who are struggling with horrendously oppressive student debt. [applause] mr. sanders: i have talked to a young woman whose crime in life was she went to medical school and is practicing primary health care for low income people. exactly the kind of doctors we need. but, for doing that, she came out of school $300,000 in debt. i was in iowa a few months ago. a woman came up to me and said she graduated dental school -- $400,000 in debt at a time where
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we have a major dental crisis and we need more dentists. i talked to young people who are paying off 25% of their limited incomes in student debt. cannot afford to get married. cannot afford to get a car. cannot afford to get a home. now, in my view, it makes no sense at all that if you can refinance your home today at 2% or 4%, you should not be paying 10% onnt or 10% -- 8% or your student debt. [applause] mr. sanders: third of all, the federal government which holds most of that debt should not be
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profiteering with high interest rates of working-class americans. [applause] mr. sanders: people say to me, well, bernie, that is a good idea, but it will be pretty expensive to provide public colleges and universities tuition free and lower student debt. how will you pay for it? let me tell you exactly how i will pay for it. with attacks on wall street -- with a tax on wall street speculation. [applause] mr. sanders: when wall street destroyed this economy because of their greed and recklessness, they went begging to the middle class to bail them out. now it is wall street's time to bail out the middle class. [applause]
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mr. sanders: when we talk about our responsibilities as human beings, as parents, adults, there is perhaps nothing more important than leaving this planet in a way that is habitable for our kids and grandchildren. [applause] mr. sanders: the debate is over. the scientific community in a virtually unanimous voice have told us climate change is real. climate change is caused by human activity. and climate change is already today causing devastating problems in our country and all
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over the world. [applause] mr. sanders: what the scientists tell us -- if we do not get our act together in a very short period of time, a bad situation today will become much, much worse with the planet izing five or 10 degrees more fahrenheit. more extreme weather does disturbances. the united states has the moral responsibility to lead the world in transforming our energy system. [applause]
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mr. sanders: in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. [applause] let me say a word about values and priorities. i am the ranking member of the senate budget committee which means i am the leader of the democrats in our position. i want to tell you what many of you don't know. passed bye budget the republicans a few months ago does the following -- it throws $2 27 million americans off of health care. by $90 pell grants billion over 10 years. it cuts nutrition programs,
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including the wic program, for pregnant women and their little kids by billions and billions of dollars. [booing] mr. sanders: those are the priorities of the republican party. those are not america's priorities. [applause] mr. sanders: and to add insult to injury, not only are they making massive cuts in health care, education, nutrition and other vitally important programs, their budget proposes taxive $250 billion in breaks to the top 2/10 of 1%. [booing] tell myers: so, let me republican colleagues -- no, we
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are not going to cut social security. we are going to expand social security. [applause] mr. sanders: no, we are not going to cut veterans programs. we are going to expand veterans programs. [applause] mr. sanders: and we are going to provide the best quality health care to our veterans who have put their lives on the line to defend this country. [applause] mr. sanders: when we talk about making our country the kind of
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nation that it must become, we must talk about ending institutional racism and making major reforms -- [applause] mr. sanders: and making major reforms to our broken criminal justice system. [applause] mr. sanders: now, the good news is that over the last several decades, our country has made significant progress in overcoming our long legacy of racism. we should be proud of that. if people were sitting in this room 30 years ago and somebody said i think in the year 2008, an african-american could be elected president, that the
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people of america will look at his ideas, his views, people would have said no. it would not happen that fast, but it did happen and we should be proud of that. [applause] mr. sanders: we should be proud of the progress we have made and the struggle absolutely continues against sexism in this country and opening doors for women that never existed before. [applause] god only knows that that struggle continues, but we are making progress and we should be very proud of the extraordinary progress we have made in recent years in the fight for gay rights. something we should be very proud of. [applause]
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mr. sanders: that is the good news and we as americans deserve a pat on the back for making real progress in making us a less discriminatory society in many respects. as, here is the bad news -- everyone in this room knows, racism remains a much too real part of american life. and in that regard, i'm not just talking about the sickness of a man who can walk into a bible study class in charleston, pray with people in that room and then take out a gun and kill nine of them. that is just something that is almost impossible for us to understand how somebody can do
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that. talkingre not just about other forms of racism that we see every single day. we are not just talking about the hundreds of hate groups that exist all over this country, groups that exist for one purpose alone and that is -- it is hard to imagine -- but the ferment hatred against african-americans or gays or immigrants or jews -- people that are different o from them. we have to take a hard look at those groups. the justice department should be much more active in making sure -- [applause] mr. sanders: these are the types
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of groups that educated that sick man. i'm not just talking about those groups. i'm talking about people like .ichael brown and [applause] scottnders: and walter and freddie gray and many, many unarmed african americans who died at the hands of police officers or in police custody. now, i was a mayor for eight years. let me be the first to tell you as someone who worked very hard with our police department that being a cop today is not an easy job and most police officers are honest and trying to do their best under difficult circumstances. [applause]
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mr. sanders: let me also tell you that as in the case of any other public official, when a police officer breaks the law, that officer must he held accountable. [applause] mr. sanders: further, we need fundamental reform of a broken, broken criminal justice system. [applause] there is a lot to talk about, but let me very briefly highlight some of the areas that i believe we need to move aggressively in. when i turn on the tv and i see
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in some cities, small cities all over america, police departments that are heavily militarized, that look like an invading army, that is wrong. [applause] mr. sanders: the best police departments in america are police departments that are part of the community. [applause] where people feel comfortable with police officers and are able to say there is a crack house down the street, where people have confidence in a police force that is working with them, not against them. [applause] mr. sanders: when i was mayor of burlington, we moved towards the concept of community policing --
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making police officers part of the community. -- police departments are run by communities but the federal government can play a role. police departments all across america should reflect the diversity of the community they serve. [applause] mr. sanders: we also need to take a hard look at the use of force doctrine that exists in many police departments. good police officers -- i have seen it personally many times -- are able to deflect a volatile situation. that is good police work. [applause] mr. sanders: many officers are trained to do that. that is tough. i have seen police officers get in the middle of a fight. we should understand lethal
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force is the last resort, not the first. [applause] mr. sanders: we need to begin rethinking the war on drugs. [applause] mr. sanders: i find it remarkable and disturbing that many young americans have received a criminal record for smoking or possessing marijuana, but not one major wall street executive has a criminal record for destroying our economy. [applause]
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mr. sanders: when congress reconvenes in september, i will be offering legislation which ends the absurdity and injustice of private corporations making profits by building and running jails. [applause] mr. sanders: corporations should not be making a profit on the incarceration of americans. [applause] need toers: further, we
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understand that substance addiction, whether it is drugs or alcohol or whatever, is a disease. is a disease. it is a serious disease that exists in my state, it exists all over this country. and we need to aggressively treat that disease and not see it as a crime. [applause] mr. sanders: and that means that we need to invest in drug courts and medical and mental health intervention. [applause] ar. sanders: it is prett
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pretty crazy situation when many of the people in jail are mentally ill. [applause] yousanders: and i can tell i get calls in my office, other senators get calls from people who say, you know what, i am really worried about my brother. i don't know what he is going to do to himself or somebody else, but we cannot find a mental health counseling that we need and can afford. that is crazy. [applause] and we also need to develop a path back from prison. [applause] mr. sanders: nobody should be shocked that if somebody leaves prison without a job, without
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education, without decent housing, they will go back to the environment that they got into jail in the first place. [applause] mr. sanders: we have got a lot of work to do on criminal justice. keep in mind, it costs more money to keep somebody in jail than to send them -- [applause] when we talk about bringing our people together, let us not forget that today there are 11 million undocumented people in this country. i was in phoenix a few weeks ago talking to a group of young hispanic kids. tears rolling out of their eyes because they were fearful of
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being deported or having their parents deported. we need to provide legal protection now for the undocumented. [applause] mr. sanders: we need comprehensive immigration reform and we need a path towards citizenship. [applause] mr. sanders: a number of years ago, as all of you will recall, there was a fierce debate about whether you the united states -- whether the united states should go to war in iraq. i listened to what bush and cheney and donald rumsfeld had to say. [booing]
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mr. sanders: and i did not believe them. i voted against the war in iraq. [applause] mr. sanders: and it does not make me happy, it truly does not, to tell you that much of what i said during that debate -- go to youtube and look at what i said -- sadly, much of what i feared would happen did happen in terms of the d destabilization of the region. there is another debate about the president's plan to make certain that iran does not get a nuclear weapon. [applause] mr. sanders: now, i find it astounding that many of my
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republican colleagues seem to have forgotten what the wars in iraq and afghanistan have done to our people and to our country. braveorgot about the 6700 men and women who died. they forgot about the young men who came home without legs and arms. they forgot about the 500,000 who came home with posttraumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries. [applause] , by the way, if this country stands for anything, we have to stand with those people who came home from war. [applause] mr. sanders: but now, the debate is over iran.
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and whether or not congress should approve the agreement worked on by the president and secretary kerry. i don't think this is a perfect agreement. the united states had to negotiate with five other countries. plus germany, plus iran. but, i believe we should do everything possible to see that ira does notn get a nuclear weapon without going to war. [applause] mr. sanders: and it really, really does trouble me how ensekly, how easily in a s -- people say we don't want this agreement, we don't trust iran. what they are really saying is yes, we will go to war against iran. a great nation is a nation that
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does everything possible to cultivate in this very difficult and crazy world -- nobody has any answers to all of the craziness in this world. isis and everything else. but, we should be a leader in the world in trying to resolve international conflict in a peaceful way and not in another war. [applause] mr. sanders: you have been very kind tonight in this rather hot room. [laughter] [applause] let me close by saying two things. honestly,s campaign,
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is not about me. it is about all of it's about all of us. i cannot do it alone. we need to bring people into the local process to make sure that our friends and family do not continue to vote against their own best interests. [applause] and the second and last point that i want to make, is i want you all not to think small. i want you to think big. this is the wealthiest country in history. if we were a poor country, if we were a haiti, a small country, we would say, we can't do this and we can't do that. that is not america. draw in the rest of the
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industrialized world and guarantee health care to all people as i write. -- as a right. [applause] have the best child care system in the world, not as dysfunctional one. countries andher make sure that every person in this country, regardless of income, can get a higher education. [applause] we can make certain that every senior in our country can live in dignity and security. [applause]
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we can make certain that a veteran that his or her life to defend us gets the quality health care and benefits they have earned. [applause] and we can make certain that no american, regardless of their race, their religion, their disability, or their sexual orientation, we can make sure that all americans realize the full potential of the quality that is our birthright -- of the equality that is our birthright as americans. [applause] if we stand together as a
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nation, if we do not allow them to divide us up by race or sexual orientation or the country we came from, there is nothing, nothing that together we cannot accomplish. thank you all very much. [applause] ♪
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>> ♪ turn, turn, turn
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♪ >> thank you so much. >> would you sign this, please?
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bernie. you ♪
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>> i in the veteran -- i am a veteran for bernie. >> thanks. >> thank you so much.
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>> thank you for all you are doing for us. >> i came from florida. ♪ before you break my heart ♪ >> thanks for coming. >> thank you so much.
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sen. sanders: how are you doing? >> we are working for you here. thank you so much. >> can we take a picture? thank you. senator.
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>> thanks for volunteering for this. sen. sanders: thank you very much. thanks for coming. >> this is my profile picture. >> thank you very much.
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>> connecting picture -- can i take a picture? sen. sanders: okay, thank you all! >> thank you for coming to columbia.
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>> pretty, can we get -- bernie, can we get a picture? >> vermont senator bernie sanders wrapping up a town hall meeting that was essentially a one hour 35 minute speech by the democratic presidential candidate. then working the crowd. c-span's road to the white house live coverage from south carolina. phone lines are open. line for democrats. coming up in just a couple minutes, a chance for you to question senator ernie sanders.
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he's going to stick around and take more of your phone calls. we will get this tweet, including this one from omaha, saying bernie is roaring. whileg about the issues the mainstream media talks about personalities, a reference to donald trump, who is in a mobile, alabama. that speech is being streamed live on our website airing of this weekend on the c-span network. first, we want to hear it from you. david from minnesota. democrats line, go ahead please. guest: i'm going to be a high school senior voting in the next election. i could not be more excited to be voting for bernie sanders. here is someone who has a strong plan to address climate change, which is an issue i care about. i think a young -- a lot of
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young people care about it. college affordability is something he cares about. debate, theylary didn't even mention it. he is fighting for middle-class, working-class people before i was born. i really don't have much else to say other than he is a very authentic guy. host: was there one thing he said tonight that struck you? you said climate change, but is there anything else? guest: like i said, college afford ability. also, i watched a lot of his speeches. when you look at his consistency. you have someone who pull test -- poll tests. when it comes to trade, marriage equality. add, here is someone who has taken on wall street. also money in politics is a very
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important issue. he's not running his campaign with a super pac. he wants to make sure that large donors don't disrupt the political system. it's a little bit offputting to me. some other democratic candidates, especially hillary clinton for example, on her website and in her speeches, she talks about how she wants to work towards having super pacs not corrupt our political process. but she has her own super pac. she's courting big donors. and he is the one that has raised millions of dollars from 400,000 donors who are regular people. i think that is the respectable thing to do, especially when it is so tempting in this political atmosphere to wants to raise money from the super wealthy donors. he just went to the people. host: i want to thank you very much for phoning in.
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i appreciate you adding your voice to the program. thank you david. guest: thank you for taking my call. saying tweet from ron, we should leave the world and resolve complex peaceably. @cpsan.share your at republican line, larry, good evening. guest: i really appreciate you taking my call. i have a couple of comments. i just wonder, how is senator sanders intending to pay for these very large and generous social programs that he is putting forth? like free college, free health care? and is there anybody in the media who can honestly fact check him on these things? where is the money going to come from? and then i look at the people in the audience. i find myself very disappointed
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to think that people are gathering in a place and are cheering for all the handouts that mr. sanders is offering. after all, the fact is, it's not equal outcome in america, it's equal opportunity. mr. sanders believes in socialism. equal opportunity. host: ok larry. thank you for the call. joining us is sam from lexington, kentucky from our independent line. good evening. sam, you with us? go ahead please. guest: i want to know from senator sanders and bring some thing to his attention. the use of nicotine vaporizers, electronic cigarettes, is a rapidly growing industry. big tobacco and big pharma make a lot of money off of cigarettes and a smoking cessation product. host: going to amber from new
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haven, connecticut. guest: i love bernie sanders. host: why? peoplei would like for to stop watching reality tv shows, which is the dumbing down of america. bernie sanders has been standing up for the little person for decades. him inill be voting for the primary. host: going into the selection, amber, -- going into this election, were you thinking bernie sanders or somebody else? what made you decide on him? guest: hillary clinton is just too rehearsed for me. bernie sanders speaks from the heart. i want someone who is going to lead this country with the country's best interests.
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and that is it. host: we welcome our listeners on c-span radio, which is heard on 90.1 fm in the baltimore-washington area. also streaming on the web at your calls and comments on the bernie sanders event that took place in columbia, south carolina. 1 of 4 events taking place in a south carolina. as we said earlier, we are covering in a mobile, alabama the event with donald trump. over coverage available anytime, including our extensive coverage of the iowa state fair, wrapping up tomorrow with two presidential candidates. chris christie and bobby jindal. commerce women shelter will be -- we hope you tune in tomorrow morning. lee from boca raton, florida on the independent line. what is on your mind tonight? by s: i was very moved anders talk this evening.
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i was moved by his honesty. i am a senior citizen. heard from a lot of politicians in my lifetime. everything he said came from his heart. and it was so moving, very moving. and maybe he is living in a dreamland. he wants to share his thoughts with people. but he's not concerned about having everybody's vote. as most politicians are. that is why they can't talk from their hearts, which is unfortunate. that is my message. host: okay, lee from boca raton. another tweet. you can send it to us on @cpsan and follow us on twitter. senator sanders, please name three things you fought for as a
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elected official in 25 years and won. next is a caller from new jersey on the democrats line. guest: think you for having my call. i was very moved. i was watching the south carolina town hall. when you are right, you are right. i was thinking about bernie sanders. i heard them talk a couple times. after watching this, he just signed me in. host: why? what did he say tonight? guest: first of all, there is nothing that i disagree with. every issue that he bought up, i totally agree with. i want to go out there and volunteer and get everybody that i can. i have a son that is 24 years old. he is married and has a wife. i think i found a way to get the kids involved, because none of them wants to vote. i want to say, just listen to him. he is totally authentic.
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let me go back to one of the earlier colors, how do you for all of this? how would you respond to that? -- earlier caller, how do you pay for all of this? guest: he's going to wall street. he's going to tax them when they mess up, i love that. that is a start, anyway. nobody ever held the big banks and wall street accountable. first off, i want to know why we base our society on a gambling game to begin with? choice, mostn the people would not have this. i don't think we should use money -- i think we should use money on basic things to sustain life -- food, medical attention, air. someone to charge for that. shelter, clothing. everybody else, you want more than that? go ahead.
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just being able to sustain yourself, not drug up, but comfortable, you can be happy. you can get back into being human. host: another reviewer saying i support bernie sanders because he's the only candidate talking about mental health reform. it is so important. if you are tuning in or listening on c-span radio, senator sanders, who will be joining us shortly is an columbia, south carolina. he spoke for an hour and a half. 1 of 4 events in south carolina part of our road to the white house coverage. he will take your calls for about a half-hour. a caller from north carolina on the republican line. noelle, you're on the air. enough tom old remember fidel castro when he first started giving speeches in cuba.
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bernie sanders's script tonight sounded just exactly like it came from fidel castro. so people better look at their history books and read up a little bit. that is my only comment. host: okay. thank you. everywhere says-- jeff is next from massachusetts. good evening to you. guest: hello. i would like you to ask bernie this. what happened to world peace as an issue? fory mind, we could pay everything he wants to do by looking at the defense budget. looking at the 500-odd military bases we have all over the world. that is my question. host: thanks. next to gary from lumberton,
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north carolina, republican line. guest: hey, how are you doing? host: fine, thanks for joining us tonight. guest: as i republican, i will say that i am impressed with bernie sanders'address for his campaign and the amount of funding he has received from the grassroots level. but i'm just like your other republican colors. i am just curious to know, for instance, the increase in wage earnings. salary increases. i just think in some ways, that is going to affect the drive for younger people to want to go to college. i can go to mcdonald's and make 15 in our, why go to college? host: would you make the our grid that you could make more beyond $15 an hour if you went to college? guest: i just don't know. it's all speculation.
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like your previous republican caller, we are going to pay for this. in the end, you have to provide, you need the revenue. you need businesses. you have got to raise revenue in order to fulfill these promises. host: gary, thanks for the call. a week from today, next friday, the democratic candidate will be in minneapolis for the summer meeting of the dnc. lincoln chafee, bernie sanders, hillary clinton, jim webb, and martin o'malley speaking. we will have live coverage here on c-span and c-span radio. ron is joining us from rockford, illinois on the democrats line. guest: thank you very much for taking my call. number one, i like to know, is it possible that we can get on the same page with elizabeth warren, who addressed the
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banking issue of 2008 and the debacle of the fraud that took place. let's look at the 13 national banks that were convicted of fraud. what about the 4 million people because still suffering of the financial debacle that took place? issue.ake one that hasany person been accountable for their actions at these banks that committed fraud? only onene -- the talking about this is elizabeth warren. those bernie sanders agree with elizabeth warren, and
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furthermore, would it be possible for bernie sanders and elizabeth warren to come forward to bring this country back together? host: would you vote for the ticket, ron? guest: without question. number one, we have to understand two things. the truth has been disguised by fox news. it's hard to describe fox news without saying they are out and out lie years. i hate to go there. -- they are out and out liars. they do have something to say. but that is not the question here. peoplere over 4 million that are suffering with this fraud andof mortgage credit fraud. if o


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