Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley Make their Cases in Iowa – ABC News
The sporting event atmosphere at Hy-Vee Hall included supporters of all the three Democrats left in the presidential race: Clinton, Sanders, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. Supporters of Clinton and Sanders dominated the gymnasium-style bleachers, waving glow sticks, pounding on the floor, and chanting.
On one half of the space, the Clinton fans looked organized and polished. They wore matching, glow-in-the-dark, blue t-shirts that read, “I’m fighting for her.” They held battery-operated foam lights that shone brightly when the lights dimmed and doubled as noise-makers.
Sanders’ fans had glow sticks, too, the kind that glow after being snapped. While many of his fans wore Bernie 2016 t-shirts, they were mismatched and different colors. His section also included several homemade signs.
In the latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa poll, Sanders trailed Clinton by seven points. He spent nearly half of his speech Saturday making unambiguous criticisms of former President Bill and Hillary Clinton on the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Defense of Marriage Act without mentioning their names.
Sanders stood proudly as his supports screamed “feel the Bern” and “We want Bernie.”
“Six months ago, when I began my campaign for president of the United States of America and when we announced we were going to take on the political and economic establishment of this country, very few people knew who I was,” he said as his supporters cheered. “Well, in the last six months, things have changed.”
Sanders began his remarks by complementing the work of President Obama and calling out Republicans who he said “are suffering from a very serious illness. They suffer from amnesia. They forgot what the world looked like seven years ago.”
Clinton later told the crowd she wasn’t running for the third terms of either her husband or President Obama.
I’m running for my first term and I’m running as a proud Democrat,” she said.
The former secretary of state began her remarks by wishing pop star Katy Perry a happy birthday. Perry, who was was sitting in the audience at a table with Clinton supporters and a “left shark” nearby from her Super Bowl performance, played a free concert earlier in the day, including singing “Roar” as Clinton walked out to before her speech.
Clinton also took a minute to acknowledge Vice President Joe Biden who announced this week that he won’t run for president.
“Let’s show him how we appreciate Vice President Joe Biden and all he’s done for this country,” she said.
The only candidate to mention the other Democrats by name was O’Malley, who asked Clinton and Sanders to stand with him on cracking down on gun manufacturers. Though the majority of polls find him in low single digits, he told his smaller group of supporters that he likes “the tough fights.”
“We are fighting for something worth saving,” said O’Malley. “The American Dream is worth saving. It is time to stand up. It is time to join the fight. I am in this to win this.”
The presidential candidates rallied the 6,600 Democrats in attendance, but there were many acknowledgements of the power the GOP holds in Iowa public office. Rep. Dave Loebsack asked the crowd to send him help and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party, urged the crowd to “turn the ballot blue in November.”
But undecided Iowa Democrats seemed few in the crowd, which was dominated by vocal supporters of the presidential candidates from around the country.