The senator from Vermont was asked the first question of the second night of debates, when it was pointed out he had called for big new government benefits such as universal health care and free college. It was also pointed out he had recently said Americans would be happy to pay more in taxes.
The 77-year-old defended both his proposal and his comments.
“People who have health care under medicare for all will have no premiums, no deductibles and co-payments and no out of pockets. Yes, they will pay more in taxes and less in health care for what they get,” he said.
He was then asked what would be his response to those who say if the Democrats were to nominate a socialist for its presidential candidate, it would result in the reelection of Mr Trump.
Mr Sanders replied: “Well I think the response is ... the last polls I saw had us 10 points ahead of Donald Trump.
“Because the American people understand Trump is a phoney and a pathological liar.”
He said if Mr Trump was genuinely interested in working Americans the would not be trying to take “what healthcare they have” from more than 30m people.
Mr Sanders is a self-professed democratic socialist who wants a Medicare-style system to cover all Americans’ health care se
He has said he would make public colleges and universities tuition free and eliminate existing student debt.
He said: “500,000 people are sleeping out on the streets today.”
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