Sep 5, 2016 5:28 PM
NH1 News Political Director
MANCHESTER – It felt like old times as Bernie Sanders took to the podium at the annual AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast.
The senator from Vermont was greeted with a standing applause and chants of “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie.”
But it was evident times had changed, as the former Democratic presidential candidate didn’t campaign for himself, but instead for nominee Hillary Clinton and Gov. Maggie Hassan, who’s challenging Sen. Kelly Ayotte in one of the nation’s most high profile Senate races.
Sanders, back in the Granite State for the first time since July, when he formally ended his White House bid and endorsed Clinton.
But first things first.
“Thank you all on a personal note for the support you have given me,” Sanders told the crowd.
After narrowly losing in Iowa, Sanders crushed Clinton in February’s first-in-the-nation primary.
“What happened here in New Hampshire was instrumental in allowing our campaign to go forward in a 50 state effort,” he added.
Sanders was introduced by Hassan, who told the crowd the former White House contender “has helped energize people throughout New Hampshire and America.”
“I am truly honored to have his support for my campaign and with your help I hope to work with him as a colleague in the United States Senate,” Hassan added.
Sanders recently endorsed Hassan, who was a big backer of Clinton during the Democratic primaries. He told the audience that “our job is to make certain that it is the Democratic Party has the 51 or 52 seats.”
He predicted the Ayotte-Hassan race could be the one to determine which party has the majority in the Senate.
“It could very well come down to the people of New Hampshire and the choice they make on election day,” he warned. “I hope very much that you will send Maggie Hassan to the United States Senate.”
Then Sanders turned his attention to the White House race, telling his supporters that “Hillary Clinton believes, you believe and I believe that in American all workers deserve equal pay for equal work and will fight for pay equity for women workers.”
And he urged the crowd to “work as hard as you can to elect” Clinton, adding “our job now is to go forward together to elect Hillary Clinton, to elect Maggie Hassan, to elect progressive Democrats up and down the line.”
Monday’s speech was the first by Sanders outside Vermont since he launched his new group, Our Revolution. And it was his first in support of other candidates since is address to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in late July.
Sanders visit to New Hampshire came just a couple of days after Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein both learned they’d be on the ballot in New Hampshire on Election Day. Some of his supporters in the state remain reluctant to vote for Clinton.
Speaking a few minutes before Sanders, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen told the crowd at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church on the east side of Manchester that "I hear from a lot of people that they're not excited about either candidate in this race, or that there's no difference between them.”
“You know, the last time I heard that was in 2000. And Al Gore lost New Hampshire by 7,000 votes, while Ralph Nader won 19,000 votes. So we got George W. Bush. We got the Iraq War” she reminded the audience.
For Sanders, the end of his presidential campaign meant an end to his Secret Service protection.
That was illustrated as he departed, when a man approached him and began yelling, telling Sanders to “be a real socialist” and “speak out against the empire.”
Sanders looked at the man before getting into a waiting car, and driving off.
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