Down but not out, Bernie Sanders shares familiar campaign message before thousands at Waterfront Park

05/03/2016 10:53 PM

LOUISVILLE — As voters across the Kentucky River handed him a slight win over the Democratic presidential front-runner in Tuesday’s Indiana primary, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders stuck to familiar campaign themes and attacks during a rally at Louisville’s Waterfront Park.

Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist from Vermont who trails Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton by 802 delegates, gave no indication to the thousands of supporters who flocked to the riverbank, instead continuing his attacks on Clinton for her six-figure speeches to Wall Street financiers, her support of the Iraq War and her reliance on outside super PACs to buoy her campaign.

Sanders again called on Clinton to release the transcripts of her $225,000 speeches to financial institutions.

“It must be a speech written in Shakespearean prose,” the Vermont senator said to cheers during his hourlong speech. “And therefore, I think a speech that extraordinary should be shared with all of you people.”

As he’s done in the past, Sanders mockingly released the transcripts of all the speeches he’s given on Wall Street by sweeping his arms toward the crowd. “Now did you get all of the transcripts?” he asked.

Sanders said he would welcome the opportunity to speak to Wall Street bankers but would reject payment.

“I do want the opportunity to tell them face-to-face what their greed and illegal behavior has done to this country,” he said.

Sanders hemmed close to his talking points on free public college education, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour and transitioning to a single-payer healthcare system, among others, and he also touched on demilitarizing local police departments, removing marijuana from the federal government’s list of controlled substances and rebuilding the country’s inner cities.

Clinton wasn’t the only candidate in Sanders’ crosshairs on Tuesday, saying that Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump will never get elected. The GOP field narrowed after Trump won Indiana handily, forcing Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz to suspend his campaign.

“I am here to tell you that won’t happen,” Sanders said of a Trump presidency. “… The American people will not elect a candidate who insults every group that you can think of virtually every day.”

Sanders likely won’t keep Clinton from securing the 2,383 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination, but he has resisted calls to exit the race. Clinton, in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell before Indiana’s results, indicated Tuesday that she’s looking past Sanders, saying she’s “really focused on moving into the general election.”

Still, Sanders urged his supporters to hit the polls in Kentucky’s May 17 primary and give the race “the largest turnout in history.” A March survey by Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling showed that Clinton holds a 5 percent lead on Sanders in Kentucky.

“What we have learned so far in the campaign is that if there are large voter turnouts, we win,” he said.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.


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