Bernie Sanders: 'Our Campaign Is About Transforming Our Country'

Susan Jones | February 19, 2019 | 8:54am EST
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) makes a campaign appearance in Derry, N.H., in February 2016. (File Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

( - "I am running for president because now more than ever, we need leadership that brings us together, not divides us up," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Tuesday in a video announcement.

Sanders said it's not just about winning: "Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice."

Sanders said he is trying to raise a "million-person grassroots movement" that will "help transform this country so that finally we have a government that works for all of us, and not just a few."


In an interview with CBS News Tuesday morning, Sanders was asked for his opinion of capitalism:

"Look, I think what we see in this country and around the world is a lot of great entrepreneurs, but I think what is happening is some of these folks -- we have a system which allows these people to accumulate huge amounts of income and wealth.

"So when I talk about democratic socialism, somebody wants to call me a radical, okay, here it is. I believe that people are inherently entitled to health care. I believe people are entitled to get the best education they can. I believe that people are entitled to live in a clean environment. People are entitled to have decent-paying jobs. That's what I believe."

Sanders predicted that President Trump will say that Sanders wants the United States to become Venezuela:

"Bernie Sanders does not want to have the United States become the horrific economic situation that unfortunately exists in Venezuela right now," Sanders said. "What Bernie Sanders wants is to learn from countries around the world why other countries are doing a better job in dealing with income and wealth inequality than we are."

Sanders said his 2020 presidential campaign will be a "continuation of what we did in 2016."

"You may recall that in 2016, many of the ideas that I talked about -- Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, making public colleges and universities tuition-free -- all of those ideas, people said, ‘Oh, Bernie, they're so radical, they are extreme. The American people just won't accept those ideas.’

“Well, you know what's happened over three years? All of those ideas and many more are part of the political mainstream.”

"So you're saying the party came your way?" host John Dickerson asked Sanders.

"I don't want to say that," Sanders replied. "I think most people would say that," he added.

In his interview with CBS, Sanders had sharp words for Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks chairman and CEO, who has warned that a radical leftist cannot defeat Donald Trump.

"Oh, isn't that nice!" Sanders told Dickerson. "Why is Howard Schultz on every television station in this country? Why are you quoting Howard Schultz? Because he's a billionaire.

"There are a lot of people I know personally who work hard for a living, make $40-, $50-thousand dollars a year who know a lot more about politics than, with all due respect, does Mr. Schultz. But because we have a corrupt political system, anybody who is a billionaire, who can throw a lot of TV ads on television, suddenly becomes very, very credible.

"So with Mr. Schultz -- what is he, blackmailing the Democratic Party? If you don't nominate Bernie Sanders, he's not going to run? Well, I don't think we should succumb to that kind of blackmail."

Schultz has argued that if you're worried about Donald Trump, Democrats need to pick a candidate who isn't so "radical." "That's also what his theory is," Dickerson told Sanders.

Sanders replied, "I think his deeper theory is, hey, I'm a billionaire, leave me alone and let me make as much money as I can without paying my fair share of taxes. He's a billionaire. He's thinking of running for president, suddenly he's a very famous guy. That is a problem with our political system."

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