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Sen. Bernie Sanders again running for president: 'We need leadership'

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Sen. Bernie Sanders again running for president: 'We need leadership'
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will face a more crowded field for the Democratic nomination than in 2016 in his quest to challenge GOP President Donald Trump's re-election. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders entered the 2020 race for president Tuesday.

"We began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign, and now it's time to move that revolution forward," Sanders told Vermont Public Radio. Sanders won several key primaries in the 2016 race, including New Hampshire, before losing the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton.

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As a senator, the 77-year-old Sanders has remained a national leader of the Democratic Party but he's registered as an independent. His 2020 website launched following Tuesday's announcement.

"No one candidate, not even the greatest candidate you could imagine, is capable of taking on Donald Trump and the billionaire class alone," it states. "There is only one way we win -- and that is together."

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Sanders said Canada, Britain and other European countries have been able to provide healthcare to everyone without out-of-pocket expenses so the United States should, too.

"It is not a healthcare issue, it is a political issue, it's an economic issue, it's the power of insurance companies and the drug companies. And I'm prepared to take them on," Sanders said.

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Sanders brought issues such as a Medicare-for-all national healthcare plan and a $15 minimum wage to the forefront of the Democratic platform.

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"It turned out that many of the ideas that I talked about -- that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and that we've got to move forward toward a Medicare-for-all, a single-payer system: very, very popular," Sanders said. "When I talked about making public colleges and universities tuition-free and lowering student debt, that was another issue that people said was too radical. Well, that's also happening around the country."

Sanders will face a more crowded field for the Democratic nomination than in 2016 in his quest to challenge GOP President Donald Trump's re-election. Five fellow senators are running or exploring campaigns for the Democratic nomination, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Sanders sent an email to supporters after he made the announcement.

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"I'm running for president because, now more than ever, we need leadership that brings us together -- not divides us up," Sanders said. "Women and men, black, white, Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight, young and old, native born and immigrant. Now is the time for us to stand together."

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In an interview Tuesday with CBS News, Sanders said his run will be a grassroots movement with millions of people from every state in the country coming together.

"Not only to win the Democratic nomination -- but also lay the groundwork for transforming the economic and political life of this country," he said. "But at the end of the day, the only way that real change takes place is when millions of people stand up, fight back, and say, enough is enough. We're going to have a government that works for all of us, not just the few."

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Sanders has dealt with some controversy stemming from his last campaign, including claims of sexual harassment by staffers. He apologized publicly and said he was unaware of the misconduct at the time.

He said he hopes this Democratic race will be based on issues, not personal attacks.

"These are my friends, these are good and serious people," Sanders said. "So I'm not here to criticize my opponents."

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