Trailing Bernie: Fact Checks and Hair Questions

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Is Sen. Bernie Sanders overstating how much the U.S. spends on health care while out on the campaign trail? Factcheck.org thinks so.

Sanders said at the Iowa State Fair this past week that the U.S. spends “almost twice as much per capita on health care as do the people of any other country.” But, “He’s wrong about that,” the nonpartisan, nonprofit group says in an Aug. 18 post.

According to Factcheck, “The U.S. spends more than twice as much per capita as the average amount spent by other developed nations, but it doesn’t spend twice as much as every one of them.” There’s a distinction there.

Factcheck wrote in its post that it reached out to the Sanders campaign for its sources, but has yet to receive a response. Sanders “has a point that the U.S. spends a lot more on health care than other nations,” according to the post. But Sanders “went too far in saying it spends twice as much as any other country.”

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Politico reported Tuesday that Sanders’ campaign is “bulking up its digital operation.” Zach Exley, the former chief revenue officer of the Wikimedia Foundation and former MoveOn.org organizing director, has been hired. Exley also served as an advisor to former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign.

Politico reported that Exley will be “working on converting the enthusiasm we’ve seen around the senator’s message into real votes by organizing with grassroots volunteers around the country,” according to Sanders’ digital director Kenneth Pennington.

Additionally, the campaign has hired Claire Sandberg, who ran a digital campaign against fracking in New York, as the digital organizing director, and Pinky Weitzman, formerly of the American Civil Liberties Union, as the Iowa digital director.

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Sanders continues to see a boost in polling. CNN reported Wednesday that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has dipped below 50 percent for the first time in a new CNN/ORC national poll. Clinton is supported by 47 percent of “Democratic and Democratic-leaning” voters. That showing is 9 percentage points lower than a July poll.

Sanders, meanwhile, is in second with 29 percent of the vote. That’s a 10 percentage point boost since July. Vice President Joe Biden, who has not announced a run for president, drew 14 percent support. The three other declared Democratic candidates, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee drew 2 percent, 1 percent an less than 1 percent, respectively.

If Biden does not enter the race, the CNN poll found that most of his supporters would turn to Clinton. When Biden’s supporters are re-allocated to their second choice, Clinton garners 56 percent to Sanders’ 33 percent. Support for the other three candidates remained the same.

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Sanders was not pleased when he was queried by New York Times write Ana Marie Cox about hair. “Do you think it’s fair that Hillary’s hair gets a lot more scrutiny than yours does?” Cox asked Sanders in a Q&A published online Monday.

“Hillary’s hair gets more scrutiny than my hair?” Sanders responded. “Is that what you’re asking?”

When she responded in the affirmative, Sanders didn’t hold back.

“O.K., Ana, I don’t mean to be rude here. I am running for president of the United States on serious issues, O.K.? Do you have serious questions?” he said.

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In what has become a familiar pattern, the Sanders campaign announced Wednesday that its Saturday rally in Charleston, S.C., will be moved to a new venue.

“With turnout projections mounting” the campaign, through spokesman Michael Briggs, announced the Saturday evening Charleston rally will be moved to the Charleston Convention Center. The event is the final one on the books for Sanders’ upcoming, two-day swing through the Palmetto State.

The campaign has made it a practice to announce venue changes as RSVPs grow beyond the capacity of booked locations.

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