Sanders makes final push in New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. — Sen. Bernie Sanders spent his final day campaigning ahead of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary Tuesday with rallies in the state’s most densely populated areas aimed at bolstering his core message — and no mentions of rival Hillary Clinton.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a campaign stop at the Palace Theatre, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a campaign stop at the Palace Theatre, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Vermont senator was looking to protect what polls have shown is a significant, double-digit lead over the former secretary of state, senator and first lady in the Granite State. Speaking to hundreds of supporters at Daniel Webster College Monday morning, Sanders said the political world is now focused on New Hampshire.

“Tomorrow, the eyes of the country and a lot of the world, by the way, will be right here on New Hampshire,” he said.

Everyone, Sanders said, will be looking to see “whether the people of New Hampshire are prepared to lead this country in a political revolution, whether the people of New Hampshire are prepared to stand up to the billionaire class.”

“That’s what tomorrow’s election is about and I’m here today to ask your support to join with us in making that political revolution,” he said.

Sanders began his day at the Hampton Inn in Bow before traveling in a newly installed motorcade — including several state police vehicles, two press buses and Secret Service vehicles — to the day’s first rally.

The senator did not mention Clinton by name in Nashua, or subsequent rallies in Manchester and Derry. Only once — in Derry’s Pinkerton Academy, did he even mention his “opponent,” when discussing contributions to super PACs.

Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said the candidate has no plans to directly address the sustained critique of his campaign and candidacy delivered by the former president. Sanders will also not directly speak about recent comments made by prominent feminist Gloria Steinem and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that disparaged female supporters of Sanders.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a campaign stop at Daniel Webster Community College, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a campaign stop at Daniel Webster Community College, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

“It’s disappointing but we’re trying to stay focused on the issues that have drawn grassroots people to his campaign here in New Hampshire,” Briggs said. “(Sanders) said matter-of-factly that women ought to be for men if they think they have ideas that are consistent with their own and it shouldn’t be a gender issue.”

Albright said at a recent Clinton campaign event that there “is a special place in Hell” for women who do not help other women. And Steinem, speaking to talk show host Bill Maher, offered her own take on why many young women are backing Sanders over Clinton.

“When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’” she said.

The comments by Albright and Steinem sparked conversation on social media, with many Sanders supporters denouncing them.

On Monday, Sanders stuck to his campaign themes and did not deviate from his stump speech. He repeated his call for a political revolution, saying the country’s “rigged economy” must be fundamentally changed. He reiterated his call for universal health care and free college tuition.

Sanders, as he often does at rallies, asked supporters to call out how much student debt they are carrying. One woman said hers totals more than $200,000 for her graduate degree from Columbia.

“Stop. Take a breath. Don’t accept that as normal or sane,” Sanders said at the Palace Theater in Manchester where his son Levi and three grandchildren joined him on stage. “Getting an education in America should not be punished, it should be encouraged.”

He also lamented the fact that most families can no longer live off of one income as they did in the past — “usually the man in those days,” he said.

“Today, because of the disappearance of the middle class, you’ve got mom working incredible hours. You’ve got dad working incredible hours,” Sanders said. “In America today, we work the longest hours of any people in the industrialized world.”

The Manchester crowd, small because of the venue, was engaged. One man answered a rhetorical question out loud about how the country’s big banks have impacted people.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a campaign stop at Daniel Webster Community College, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a campaign stop at Daniel Webster Community College, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

“They stole the country, the (expletive),” he said.

“Well, I wouldn’t phrase it exactly like that,” Sanders responded.

Although Sanders did not address the former president’s comments, his campaign manager, Jeff Weaver issued a statement saying the Clinton campaign is in “disarray.”

“It is very disturbing that, as the Clinton campaign struggles through Iowa and New Hampshire, they have become increasingly negative and dishonest. No, Bernie Sanders will not dismantle health care programs in America. He believes in health care for all. No, Bernie Sanders is not ‘attacking’ Planned Parenthood. He believes Planned Parenthood is an outstanding organization and wants to increase its funding. No, Bernie Sanders is not ‘protecting’ the gun lobby. He has a D- record from the NRA,” Weaver said in an effort to push back on charges leveled by Clinton and her surrogates.

Weaver bristled at Clinton’s latest effort to gain traction in New Hampshire. Sanders has repeatedly called out Clinton for receiving $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs and large campaign contributions from Wall Street. On Monday, Clinton said Sanders has received $200,000 from Wall Street for his campaigns through the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — a charge Weaver called “absurd.”

“How do they reach that false and absurd conclusion? They assume that every nickel Bernie Sanders received from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for his Senate campaign came from Wall Street. That is obviously preposterous,” he said. “It is laughable and suggests the kind of disarray that the Clinton campaign finds itself in today.”

Briggs said a strong result in New Hampshire will help propel the campaign forward to Nevada and South Carolina, where minority voters that Sanders has struggled to attract will play a significant role.

Sanders, in Manchester, predicted success on Tuesday.

“I think we’re going to do just fine tomorrow,” he said.

Sanders capped off his Monday events with a “Students for Bernie Commit to Vote Concert” featuring several musical acts, including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Young the Giant, Big Data, Matt Nathanson and Jonathan Fishman from Phish.

He plans to hold an election results watch party at Concord High School Tuesday night.

neal.goswami@timesargus.com

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