After a candidates debate that saw Democratic presidential frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clash over their views about Wall Street, capitalism, gun control and Syria, Sanders touted his political track record to reporters in the 'spin room' at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas yesterday (13 October).
"I think my life's work as a mayor of Burlington, as a congressman, as a United States senator, has been to get results. In a dysfunctional Congress, working with Republicans, I managed to pass one of the major pieces of legislation in that session, which was a comprehensive veterans' healthcare bill. I managed to pass major environmental legislation, I managed to pass major healthcare legislation. I think we have a real track record of progress," Sanders told the crush of reporters that surrounded him after the debate, the biggest test yet of his campaign.
The 74 year-old Vermont senator is polling ahead of Clinton, 67, in the early voting state of New Hampshire and drawing large crowds at campaign events nationwide. He said he was discouraged by what he saw as political apathy in the United States.
"We do need a political revolution in this country, where millions of people are not engaged in the political process. They don't even vote. They've given up. We have got to get them re-engaged to stand up and fight," he said. Trying to stem Sanders' momentum and calm the worries of some supporters about her slide in opinion polls, Clinton aggressively drew sharp contrasts with the self-described democratic socialist.
The two leading candidates were joined in the debate by former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and former US Senator James Webb of Virginia.