The race to the White House is came through San Diego Friday as Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders rallied in San Ysidro.
The rally was organized at the San Ysidro Athletic Quad on 5353 Airway Rd. Before he took the stage, and the Senator sat down one-on-one with NBC 7's Jackie Crea.
The following is a transcription of that exchange.
Tell me how last night went. How do you feel about the debate last night?
“I particularly enjoyed being able to contrast my views on healthcare with Joe Biden. I think that the current healthcare system is dysfunctional. I think it is cruel. I think it is absurd the way we’re spending twice as much per person on healthcare as the people of any other country. And 87 million people remain uninsured or under-insured, 30,000 die each year because they don’t get to a doctor when they should, and 500,000 people go bankrupt because of medically-related bills. We need to move forward to guarantee healthcare to all people as a human right. You do that through a Medicare for all single-payer program.”
Do you fell right now, when you’re on a stage like that in front of people or talking to somebody, that you need to focus on the issues you’re running on or about running against President Trump?
“It’s both. In the democratic primary we don’t have to work too hard to convince democrats that Trump is the most dangerous president in modern American history. What we have to do is show the American people which candidate is most likely, best able to defeat Donald Trump and I happen to believe I am that candidate. And the reason for that, is to defeat Trump we’re going to need a huge voter turnout. We’re going to need the largest turnout in American history. Our campaign is a campaign of energy and excitement. We’re appealing to a lot of working people, a lot of young people, and that is how you defeat Donald Trump.
His style seems to be to attack. Is there an issue, or a quality of yours, or a vulnerability that you think he might pounce on?
“You don’t need a vulnerability because Trump lies all of the time. He’s a pathological liar, so he will say anything he wants to about anybody, and he demonizes people and he’s a bully and so forth and so on. I am not intimidated by Donald Trump, and I think what we will show the American people is this guy is not just a bully, not just a liar, he is a fraud. He ran for president, he said, ‘You know what? We are not going to cut healthcare, we’re going to provide healthcare to everybody,’ and yet he attempted to throw 32 million people off the healthcare they currently have. He said, ‘I’m going to have a tax proposal that works for working people,’ yet 83% of his benefits in his tax proposal went to the top 1%. He said, ‘I will not cut Medicaid and social security.’ Look at his budget. Massive cuts to Medicare, massive cuts to Medicaid and cuts to the social security disability fund. He lied, and that’s the point I think we make to the American people.”
How do you connect to the Latino voter, the immigrant community? Right now we know the humanitarian crisis, we can see the border form here. How do you connect to that very important voter that we know matters to the democratic party?
“I am the son of an immigrant. My father came to this country at the age of 17 from Poland, didn’t have any money, didn’t speak a word of English, so I think I know a little bit about the immigrant experience, so I think the point we make to the immigrant community is that we are going to fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship. On day 1 we are going to restore the legal status of 1.8 million young people and their parents eligible for the DACA program. We are going to reform what we do here at the border. Under my administration, no federal agent will snatch a baby from the arms of his or her mother. So big reform and immigration reform, but that’s not the only issue that the immigrant community is concerned about. They’re concerned about education, abut healthcare, they’re concerned about climate change, and I think we have policies that resonate with the immigrant community and, in fact, with working people across the country.
Sanders echoed many of the same points on stage in front of a crowd of thousands, and those points resonated with many who were in attendance.
"I think it was definitely a good move in this border community to talk about those things. A good political move in my opinion," Ben Keane said.
He also expanded on some of those points, like the importance of anti-climate change legislation. Another agenda item a San Diego could get behind.
"We have a 2-month-old daughter and I care about her future and I just want her to have the best future she can," one mother said.
Prior to the rally, Sanders met with a group of veterans who have been deported before or are in the middle of the process of being deported. He said if he was president he would put a moratorium on all deportations.
The Senator will head back to Los Angeles for a Saturday rally with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
Sanders last visited San Diego in March when he held a rally at Waterfront Park.
The two-time presidential hopeful kicked off his latest tour of Southern California with a rally in the Coachella Valley Monday night, then headed to a town hall in Moreno Valley before the finale in San Ysidro.
Sanders has a lot of support in the Golden State, according to his campaign.
"[Bernie 2020] has surpassed 8 million attempted voter contacts, opened five offices, held more than 4,300 events, and more than 760,000 people have taken action with the campaign," reads a statement from Anna Bahr, the California spokesperson for the campaign.
Sanders challenged Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary, but lost. During that campaign he held a rally in National City that city officials said the campaign was slow to pay.
The city said it received the payment in Oct. 2017, almost a year-and-a-half after the rally in 2016.