Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders sat with Noticias Telemundo’s Anchor Julio Vaqueiro for an exclusive one-on-one interview during LULAC’s Presidential Town Hall. They talked about the candidate’s health, President Trump, immigration and the Democratic primaries, among other issues of interest to the Latino community. Below is a transcript of the conversation.
CORRESPONDENT: Noticias Telemundo Fin de Semana Anchor Julio Vaqueiro.
LOCATION: De Moines, Iowa.
This is a rush transcript and it is subject to change. Please credit “Noticias Telemundo” if you quote this material.
JULIO VAQUEIRO: Senator, thank you very much for your time.
BERNIE SANDERS: Thank you for having me.
JULIO VAQUEIRO: So, Bernie's back, right?
BERNIE SANDERS: Bernie's back. (LAUGHTER).
JULIO VAQUEIRO: You-- you seem to have, like, renewed energy. Is—is there any approach to your campaign?
BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I think one of the reasons I may have renewed energy is I'm functioning now with three healthy arteries, and not one that is blocked. So that's a big help. (LAUGH) But I am feeling great. And we're off and running, and we're gonna be all over Iowa and New Hampshire and around this country with a very vigorous campaign.
JULIO VAQUEIRO: Good. Some polls put you in second place, some polls put you in-- in third place. And basically, you and Senator Warren are talking to the same voters with very similar ideas, so what's the-- difference between you and Senator Elizabeth Warren?
BERNIE SANDERS: Well, in my view-- the situation in this country today is so dire. The power of the corporate elite is so strong, the corruption is so significant, that we need a political revolution in this country. And I think that-- regulatory reforms is good, but it is not enough. And if we are gonna deal with the level of income and wealth inequality, if we're gonna deal with immigration, if we're gonna deal the need to guarantee healthcare to all people, we have gotta be prepared to take on the billionaires who have so much power over the economic and political life of this country.
And to do that, we need a political revolution. We need millions of people to stand up and say, "Enough is enough." We cannot have a handful of wealthy campaign contributors controlling this country, we need a government that works for all people, not the few.
JULIO VAQUEIRO: So you don't think Senator Warren can wake up--
BERNIE SANDERS: Well--
JULIO VAQUEIRO: --all-- millions of people?
BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I'll let Senator Warren speak for herself, she does that very well. All I can tell you is that what we are trying to do is not only defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in American history, we're trying to transform our economy and our government, and take power away from the few and give it to the working families of this country.
JULIO VAQUEIRO: Now is-- is she playing fair by saying that she will push your Medicare For All if she becomes president, but she-- she refuses to say that she would increase taxes to the middle class?
BERNIE SANDERS: Look, this is what I believe. What I believe is we have got to end the absurdity of the United States being the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people. We've got to end the absurdity where we are spending twice as much per person on healthcare as any other major country; also that the healthcare industry: the drug companies and the insurance companies, can make $100 billion in profit.
And what I believe is we should, over a four-year period, expand Medicare to cover everybody. That means no more premiums, no more co-payments, no more out-of-pocket expenses. Healthcare's covered by the general tax base. So what that means is that for the average American, that person will be paying significantly less for healthcare than they are right now.
JULIO VAQUEIRO: Okay. Now, it seems that part of your strategy as a campaign is to increase voter participation, right?
BERNIE SANDERS: That's right.
JULIO VAQUEIRO: Why is it-- I-- I know it's important, in general, but why is it very important to your campaign?
BERNIE SANDERS: I'll tell you why. Right now you have a Congress that is, to a significant degree, controlled by big money interests. And if we're gonna change that, and if we're gonna have a government that works for all people, the only way that happens is when millions of people - young people, working people, Latinos, African-Americans - people get involved in the political process in a way that we have never seen before.
Because if that does not happen, the people who will continue to have the power are wealthy campaign contributors and their super PACs. So if we want to do the work of working families, healthcare for all, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, climate change, transforming our energy system, people have got to jump into the political process.
JULIO VAQUEIRO: Now how do you make Latinos to get out and vote, because we're famous for not going out and voting?
BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I would-- we are working very hard just on that issue. I think the issues that many people in the Latino community feel strongly about are exactly the issues that we are fighting for. And that means comprehensive immigration reform-- making sure that on my first day in office the 1.8 million young people in the DACA program get back their legal rights, a humane border policy.
But also it's not just immigration. The Latino people are struggling with low wages. We're gonna raise that minimum wage to $15 bucks an hour. We're gonna make public colleges and universities tuition-free. Education is very important in the Latino community. We're gonna cancel all student debt. We're gonna provide healthcare to all. We're gonna deal with climate change, which is actually a very big issue within the Latino community. So I think the ideas that we are talking about will attract a lot of folks in the Latino community, and I hope they come onboard our campaign.
JULIO VAQUEIRO: Thank you very much, Senator.
BERNIE SANDERS: Hey, good to see you again