(CN) – Democratic president hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders electrified a crowd of about 800 supporters during a campaign appearance in Charleston S.C., encouraging them to say, “enough is enough” and vote for real change.
Sanders had already put in a full day of campaigning in the Columbia, S.C., when he arrived in Charleston for a rally at the Memminger Auditorium Tuesday afternoon. By then, hundreds had stood in line for hours to see him, and several would be turned away after the 77-year-old hall reached its capacity.
For those inside, Sanders had a simple message: every advance in America came about because of an iconoclast.
Sanders then went on to lambast a litany of ills he sees around him, including a “corrupt campaign finance system, an economy rigged to benefit the haves while not helping the have-nots, a higher education system that leaves families saddled with debt, and an expensive, inadequate healthcare system.
“We’re doing something radical, we are telling the American people the truth,” Sanders said to an explosion of whoops and applause.
Sanders began his day at a prayer breakfast at the historically black Allen University in Columbia, where he expounded on a range of issues from reforming the criminal justice system to creating jobs and raising wages.
Speaking to a mostly-student audience at the University of South Carolina, Sanders detailed proposals for tuition-free public colleges and universities. He also detailed plans to rebuild crumbling roads and bridges with a five-year, $1 trillion investment in infrastructure improvements.
Sanders was introduced at the university by Erica Garner, whose father died when he was choked to death during an arrest two years by New York City police officers.
She called Sanders a “fearless public servant that is not afraid to stand against the establishment for the people.”
Erica Garner is featured in a new television ad set to air here in a six-figure ad buy on stations in South Carolina and on national television beginning Wednesday.
Sanders said like the economy, the legal system is tilted to effectively disadvantage the disadvantaged.
“How many of those executives who helped destroy the economy and the lives of millions of Americans have a police record? Zero,” Sanders said. “So a kid gets picked up in South Carolina for possessing marijuana, that kid’s life is significantly altered.”
He also vowed to “create an economy that works for working families, not just the 1 percent.”
Sanders currently trails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by about 20 points in the latest polls. South Carolina’s Democratic Presidential primary will be held Feb. 27.
That doesn’t give Sanders much time to gain ground, but he remains unbowed, predicting his come-from-behind campaign will surprise pundits.
“On Election Day, I think folks here in South Carolina are going to wake up the next morning and find a very big surprise,” Sanders said to cheers from supporters at the historic Memminger Auditorium.
He concluded his speech by telling the audience, “If we can win in South Carolina, it will be a shot heard around the world.”
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