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Sanders Works on Labor Day

  • Bernie Sanders approaches the stage during a campaign stop in support of Hillary Clinton at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, N.H. Monday, September 5, 2016. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

  • Bernie Sanders welcomes New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan to the stage during a campaign event in support of Hillary Clinton at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, N.H. Monday, September 5, 2016. Hassan is running against Kelly Ayotte for a seat in the U.S. Senate. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

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    Peggy Wardrop, right, and John Wardrop, left, of Lebanon, listen as Bernie Sanders speaks in support of Hillary Clinton at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, N.H. Monday, September 5, 2016. The couple both work for the U.S. Postal Service a the White River Junction processing center that Sanders helped to keep open. "I was just so happy I finally got to vote for him in the primary," said John Wardrop. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

  • Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign event in support of Hillary Clinton at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, N.H. Monday, September 5, 2016. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Spectators listen as Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign event in support of Hillary Clinton at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, N.H. Monday, September 5, 2016. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon High School senior Julianne Borger, 17, of Grantham shields her eyes while listening to Bernie Sanders speak in support of Hilllary Clinton at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, N.H. Monday, September 5, 2016. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/6/2016 12:38:05 AM
Modified: 9/6/2016 3:00:03 PM

Lebanon — In his first post-convention trip to the Granite State, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., encouraged voters to support Hillary Clinton this fall, while they continue fighting for progressive policies championed during the primary campaign.

Sanders, who again is labeling himself as an independent after challenging Clinton for the Democratic nomination, was quick to point out to those gathered Monday at Lebanon High School where he and Clinton are in agreement, though he also made it clear that his policy goals weren’t going away.

“We have got to do everything we can to make sure Hillary Clinton is elected president and Maggie Hassan is elected to the Senate,” he told the crowd.

“But on the day after the election ... we have got to continue the pressure. We have got to continue the grass roots mobilizing to make sure that this country and our government works for us and not just the people on top.”

Sanders was in his usual form during the event, billed as an opportunity to contrast Clinton’s economic plans with those of her Republican opponent Donald Trump.

During the roughly 40-minute speech, he talked about the perils of income inequality, called for a $15 an hour minimum wage and railed against the cost of student debt.

But Sanders also spoke of proposals Clinton herself hopes to implement. Instead of repeating his past calls for a single-payer healthcare system, Sanders on Monday spoke highly of Clinton’s plan to reform the Affordable Care Act through adding a public option in every state, expanding Medicaid and increasing community health centers.

“On every issue, Hillary Clinton is the superior candidate, hands down,” Sanders said.

He also went on an extensive attack against Trump, who he described as markedly different from traditional Republicans such as former Vermont Sens. Robert Stafford, Jim Jeffords and George Aiken.

“They were much more conservative than I was on a lot of issues, on economics, but all of them without exception (were) strong believers in the need for adequately fund education, protect our environment and women’s rights,” he said. “Those days are gone now.”

Instead of a party he could work with, Sanders said, the Republican camp has become dominated by Trump and a campaign of bigotry.

“(Trump’s campaign) is trying to divide this country up. It is telling us that we are supposed to hate Muslims, we are supposed to hate Mexicans; if we’re men, we’re supposed to hate women,” Sanders said to boos from the crowd. “We are strongest when in fact we bring our people together.”

Sanders also said Trump’s claims about immigrants is scapegoating, and said Americans have to be smarter to prevent the strategy from working.

“We have to understand that some Mexican American picking tomatoes at eight bucks an hour is not the cause of the decline of the American middle class,” he said.

Talk of Trump played into fears shared by some in the crowd. It’s the notion of a Donald Trump presidency that led Anne Segal to support Clinton.

“I’m scared beyond being scared. The thought of Trump in the White House, for me, is extremely scary,” said Segal, a Hanover resident.

She voted for Clinton in the New Hampshire primary last winter, but said that decision was a close call.

“What Bernie was saying I liked, but I didn’t think he could carry it out,” she said. “Some friends of mine told me ‘vote with your brain and not your heart.’ ”

“I’m glad he’s here to support Hillary and Maggie Hassan,” she said.

But not everyone at the event was so sure of Sanders’ move to support what they saw as the Democratic establishment.

Before the speech, a group of protestors lined the entrance to the high school holding signs supporting Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Gina Zola was among the group. She wasn’t old enough to vote in the Vermont primary but said she definitely would have supported Sanders.

Now, the 18-year-old is leaning toward Stein.

“I’m a college student, so tuition and how people running are going to help with that is really important to me,” said Zola, a Sheffield, Vt., resident.

She said trust and reliability will also play a big role.

“With Hillary, a lot of the time she changes what she supports, or it seems that she does to get votes,” Zola said.

Noah Burridge, who lives in the Northeast Kingdom, was in a similar situation. He voted for Sanders in the Vermont primary but was also attracted to Stein’s candidacy.

“(Sanders is) really my hero, honestly,” said the 19-year-old. “He’s the one that drew me out into politics and actually made me care about the world.”

But now, Burridge sees the Green Party, rather than Clinton, as “accepting the torch” of Bernie’s movement.

“I still respect Sanders 100 percent,” he said. “I know what he did. I was a little heartbroken by his choice but that’s just politics.”

The New Hampshire GOP was also quick to point out possible lingering division among some Democrats.

In a statement, state Republican chairwoman Jennifer Horn drew attention to Gov. Hassan’s opposition to Sanders during the primary.

“Granite Staters will not soon forget Maggie Hassan promised her superdelegate vote to Hillary Clinton long before voters even cast a ballot.” Horn wrote. “Hassan willingly dismissed the votes of thousands in her own party to be a talking points parrot for Hillary Clinton’s repeated lies and years of scandal.”

Hassan accompanied Sanders on the stump Monday, but had trouble maintaining the enthusiasm. After she took the stage at the high school, about a third of the large crowd drifted off.

Former state Rep. Lee Hammond said it’s time for the party to come together to support Clinton. He voted for Sanders in the primary and said he attended Monday’s event to show his appreciation of the candidate, but will vote for Clinton in November.

“She has done a lot of good things and I think she will be a sane and pretty steady leader, even though I can’t personally relate to her,” said Hammond, of Lebanon. Making deals in Congress and handling foreign leaders, he said Clinton would be just as effective as any other president could be.

Will Adler, of Hartford, said Sanders’ support of Hillary isn’t a defeat, but allows Democratic Socialist values to influence the Democratic Party for the better. He said the current path of Sanders’ movement fits in with the senator’s plan, one where candidates and locals move up the ranks to influence larger elections.

“While Bernie is planting the seeds now I have no idea if Bernie will ever — and he probably doesn’t either — live to really see the fruition,” he said.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.

Correction

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., campaigned for Hillary Clinton in Lebanon on Monday. An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect day of the week.




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