Bernie Sanders

Thousands Cheer for Sanders in Warren's Home State of Massachusetts

While Sanders made no mention of Warren in his speech, some supporters still had Senator Warren on their mind

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Bernie Sanders rallied more than 10,000 supporters in historic Boston Common Saturday afternoon, invading Senator Elizabeth Warren's home state just days before Super Tuesday. But he didn't mention the Massachusetts rival by name, instead focusing on the man he hopes he'll face in November. 

"If we have the largest voter turnout in the history of the Massachusetts primary on Tuesday... We can win here. We can win the Democratic nomination, we can defeat Donald Trump, and we can transform this country,'' Sanders told the crowd.

The Vermont senator was met with erupting cheers and chants of his campaign slogan for 2020: "Not me. Us.''

Later, a sea of people waving "Bernie'' signs and chanting his name followed Sander's exit from the rally, which was located mere miles from Warren's home in Cambridge and near the campus of Harvard University. 

While Sanders made no mention of Warren in his speech, some supporters still had Senator Warren on their mind.

“I love Senator Warren, and I love a lot of her messages,” said Ayer resident Russell Condon.

Other supporters told NBC10 Boston they like Warren, but they prefer Sanders.

"I like Elizabeth, but my heart is with Bernie,” Gigi Luckett, of Newton, said.

“Unfortunately, Senator Warren hasn’t been fighting as much as we wanted her to,” West Springfield resident Brie Dumont shared.

Sanders dedicated two days this weekend to Massachusetts, visiting Springfield for a rally Friday evening where thousands also turned out.

He made repeated pitches at both events arguing that he is the candidate who can inspire the largest voter turnout to defeat President Trump in a general election, citing favorable poll numbers in states across the country.

"I'm here tonight to humbly ask for your support," Sanders told the crowd Friday night, avoiding mention of any of his Democratic competitors to his supporters in Springfield.

But on Saturday, Sanders did mention fellow candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg by name, saying "we don't want billionaires buying elections."

Still, Sanders spent much of his speech criticizing Trump, saying, “Together, we will defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country.”

"They will not re-elect somebody who apparently has never read the Constitution of the United States,” Sanders said. "We’re going to defeat Donald Trump because he is a racist. He is a sexist. He is a homophobe. He is a xenophobe. He is a religious bigot.”

The Vermont senator said he would push for voting reform in several areas if elected, including address voter suppression and seeking to overturn the landmark 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

In spending two days in Massachusetts at a critical time in the campaign, Sanders is challenging Sen. Warren in her home state. According to a new WBUR poll released Friday, Sanders' lead in Massachusetts has grown to 25-percent, well ahead of Warren's 17-percent.

That's a stark shift from even a week prior, when a UMass Lowell poll showed Sanders (21%) and Warren (20%) were in a tight race in the Massachusetts primary.

Polls show that Bernie Sanders is ahead of Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, so how does she feel about that? NBC10 Boston political reporter Alison King finds out.

Warren, who spent the past couple of days campaigning nonstop in South Carolina, was asked by NBC10 Boston how she feels about trailing Sanders in Massachusetts, according to the polls.

"You know, look, I think that Massachusetts is a very progressive state and we are progressives. Bernie and I both are," she said.  

And while Sanders may be Warren‘s chief competition, Warren knows the risks of alienating the Sanders base, and her jabs are subtle.

"I want to see us not just have the ideas, I actually want to see them enacted into law," Warren said before later ending the conversation with this: "This is really about building an operation to last. We don’t have a convention until June."

A spokesman for Warren's campaign this week declined to comment about Sanders' Massachusetts operation, but sent a list of 36 state officials who have not only endorsed Warren but also campaigned on her behalf in Massachusetts in the year she's been running for president.

Several Massachusetts elected officials who've endorsed Sanders spoke before he took the stage Saturday, including Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Nika Elugardo, a Democrat.

"Bernie can win Massachusetts because it's been said Massachusetts is made for revolutions,'' Elugardo said.

Other Massachusetts figures also hosted events to support Democratic nominees Saturday.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Mass. Attorney General Maura Healey hosted a canvas kickoff for Warren at 10 a.m. Former Secretary of State John Kerry appeared in support of former Vice President Joe Biden in Dorchester at 1 p.m.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar was up in northern New England Saturday, holding a grassroots event in Portland at 4:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the sole Republican candidate challenging Trump, former Governor Bill Weld, spoke at Rowes Wharf at 9:30 a.m.

Massachusetts is one of 14 states voting on March 3's "Super Tuesday."

NBC10 Boston and The Associated Press
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