The printed signs read "A Future to Believe In." But some homemade "Feel the Bern" placards were also sprinkled through the crowd in Duluth, as Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders rallied supporters at the first of his two Minnesota appearances Tuesday.
The U.S. Senator from Vermont stressed his campaign theme that income disparities are hurting the country. The News Tribune reports Sanders spoke of "a rigged economy" that allows a few to get rich while everyone else gets poorer.
The Star Tribune says the crowd at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center arena was about 6,000.
Sanders followed the late afternoon appearance with an evening event at St. Paul's River Centre. Some estimates put the crowd there at 17,000.
We spoke with a few of the attendees in St. Paul about what brought them out, and why they're supporting Sanders.
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In addition to decrying economic inequities, Sanders called for a $15 minimum wage, free tuition at state colleges and universities, campaign finance reform, and repairs to a "broken criminal justice system," the Star Tribune says.
Sanders' proposals will cost money. On Monday – in what a Washington Post blog called "a full Mondale" – Sanders acknowledged during a town hall meeting "We will raise taxes. Yes, we will."
(Vice-President Walter Mondale was equally blunt about raising taxes during his 1984 presidential campaign and wound up carrying only his home state of Minnesota and Washington, D.C.)
MPR News reports Sanders barely mentioned fellow Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in his Duluth remarks, but cast Republican Donald Trump as a divider of people, adding "There's nothing more in this life that I would look forward to more than running against Donald Trump."
Recent polls in Iowa have shown Sanders running virtually even with Clinton among that state's Democrats.
In Minnesota, though, a Star Tribune poll last week showed Clinton with a whopping 34 point lead over Sanders.
Iowa opens the 2016 nominating season with its caucuses on Monday. Minnesota's will be held on March 1.