DETROIT (WOOD) — More than 6,000 enthusiastic people crowded the TCF Center, formerly known as Cobo Hall, Friday to see a fiery as ever Bernie Sanders.
If there is a feeling that the Vermont Senator’s campaign is on the ropes, there was no sign of that in Detroit.
“As I look at the thousands of people here tonight, we are the campaign of energy and excitement,” Sanders said to cheers from the diverse but predominantly young crowd.
The crowd was loud and they chanted the candidate’s name even as he reminded them that the race is about them and not a cult of personality around him.
“I am flattered by all the sounds of support, but let me be very clear as I’ve said since day one, this campaign is not about Bernie, it is about you and you and the rest,” Sanders said.
While the Democratic Socialist candidate hit all the themes that have gotten him to this point, he also sharpened his attacks on former Vice President Joe Biden while at the same time saying he will support his rival if he wins the nomination.
Sanders told the crowd how vital Michigan is to his hopes of winning the nomination.
Michigan has the most delegates of the states voting in primaries on Tuesday.
Sanders pointed out to the Michigan audience the differences between his record.
He says he opposed labor-toxic policies like NAFTA, opposed the war in Iraq and voted in favor of LGBTQ rights while claiming Biden’s record shows that Biden was on the wrong side.
But even as Sanders went on the attack, he also said that he and Biden have a compact:
“Joe Biden has said if I win, he will support me, I have said if Biden wins, I will support him,” Sanders said.
Sanders saved his vitriol for Donald Trump, who he labeled as the most dangerous president in history who needs to be removed in November.
“This guy can’t even get along with the people he appoints let alone the rest of the world,” he said.
Sanders pledged to return labor to greatness and to make sure that water is safe in Flint and elsewhere.
Sanders also addressed a growing narrative claiming that he and his supporters are hostile to women and female candidates.
“By the way, let me say to the men who are here, if there was ever a moment that we men have got to stand with the women, it is that time,” Sanders said.
He told the crowd he is 100 percent pro-choice and will only appoint judges who support Roe V. Wade.
He made no mention was made of fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren who withdrew her nomination but has yet to endorse a candidate, which could be a big deal in the coming days with so much at stake.
Sanders will be in Grand Rapids on Sunday, speaking at Calder Plaza in an event the starts at 12:30 p.m. Kalamazoo-based indie band Michigander will open. You can watch Sanders’ remarks on WXSP and streaming live on woodtv.com.
Because of the event, Ottawa Avenue will be closed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, the city tweeted.
Sanders also has events scheduled for Saturday in Dearborn and Sunday evening in Ann Arbor.
Biden will also make stops in Michigan ahead of the Tuesday primary, stopping in Detroit and Grand Rapids Monday. Event details have not yet been released.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who dropped out of the race last week and endorsed Biden, will stump for him in the state this weekend, including a Saturday morning stop at Creston Brewery in Grand Rapids.
Biden performed strongly in this week’s Super Tuesday primaries, though Sanders had an important win in California.
The Michigan presidential primary is Tuesday, March 10. A few other states have primaries that day, too, but Michigan is the biggest prize with 125 delegates up for grabs.
Michigan is sure to get plenty of attention from candidates leading up to the November general election. Trump won it narrowly in 2016 — the first Republican presidential candidate to have done so in decades. Democrats hope turning the state blue again will help clear a path to the White House.